Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

December 04, 2009 12:00 ET

Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award Recipients Honoured on International Volunteer Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 4, 2009) - Two of Canada's dedicated volunteers were recognized today as the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister of State (Seniors), honoured Ms. Wendy M. Cecil, recipient of the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award in the lifelong commitment category, and Mr. Gerjon (Gary) Kalaci, the first-ever recipient of the Award in the youth participation category. Minister LeBreton made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"In recognition of the importance of volunteerism, the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award honours two outstanding individuals for their contributions," said Minister LeBreton. "We encourage all Canadians to contribute their time, talents and energy to make this country a better place to live."

In conjunction with International Volunteer Day on December 5, the Government of Canada recognizes the efforts of volunteers nation-wide who give generously of their time and talents to enhance the quality of life for Canadians of all ages.

The recipient of the Award in the lifelong commitment category, Ms. Cecil, has lent her leadership skills and passion to a variety of different causes within the health care, education and arts sectors.

Ms. Cecil helped spearhead the Urban Angel Campaign, which funded the creation of a centre to provide a warm, safe place for people who are homeless to recover after receiving medical treatment. Known as an advocate for women's rights and health issues, she is seen as a role model for many women, and is respected as one of the pioneering women to serve on many boards of directors in Canada.

Mr. Kalaci, recipient of the Award in the youth participation category, is an enthusiastic fundraiser for community organizations such as the United Way, the AIDS Committee and the Children's Miracle Network. He is also active in bringing together youth to network and enrich the community through fundraising and outreach events.

Each year, in recognition of the importance of volunteerism, the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award honours two outstanding individuals for their contributions. Therese Casgrain was the founder and president of the Quebec League of Women's Rights and helped Quebec women gain the right to vote in 1940.

Recipients receive a bronze medallion bearing the likeness of Therese Casgrain, a lapel pin and a certificate of recognition. In addition, a registered Canadian charity of their choice receives a $5,000 contribution. This year's recipients chose the St. Michael's Hospital Foundation and the United Way/Centraide of Windsor-Essex County.

To learn more about the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award, visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca.


BACKGROUNDER

Biographies of the 2009 Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award recipients

Wendy M. Cecil - Lifelong Commitment Award

Wendy Cecil is Chair and President of Brookmoor Enterprises Ltd. and has held a number of senior executive positions at Brascan Limited, including Vice-President of Business Development. She currently sits on the Boards of Directors of Mount Pleasant Group, Brookmoor Enterprises, and a number of not-for-profit organizations, including St. Michael's Hospital and the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation. She is a member or past member of numerous other boards of directors, advisory boards and fundraising campaigns, and has been active in this regard for over 20 years. She is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria College and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Toronto.

During her lifelong commitment to the not-for-profit sector, Ms. Cecil has lent her leadership skills and passion to a variety of different causes within the health care, education and arts sectors. Of particular note, she has been involved with St. Michael's Hospital since 1986, where she has been instrumental in building bridges between the Hospital and the University of Toronto, and has provided vital leadership in strategic planning and fundraising for both these institutions.

In addition, Ms. Cecil helped spearhead the Urban Angel Campaign, which funded the creation of a centre to provide a warm, safe place for people who are homeless to recover after receiving medical treatment. Known as an advocate for women's rights and health issues, she is seen as a role model for many women, and is highly respected as one of the pioneering women to serve on boards of directors in Canada.

Most recently, Ms. Cecil was named Chair of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute International Advisory Board, which brings together the worlds of research and education to speed innovations in patient care around the globe.

This world-class athlete keeps herself fit today by paddling white water rivers in the Canadian Arctic, where she has logged 2,000 miles in the last eight years.

Gerjon (Gary) Kalaci - Youth Participation Award

Gary Kalaci immigrated to Canada in 2000 from Albania, and since that time, has flourished not only academically, but in various volunteer roles. Despite his young age, Mr. Kalaci knows no bounds when it comes to volunteerism and being active in his community. He is only 26, yet due to his passion for giving back and strengthening his community, he has already served as a member on a number of university and community-based committees and boards of directors; founded various not-for-profit initiatives and international projects; and hosted national events promoting youth involvement.

Mr. Kalaci is committed to his work with local organizations, such as the United Way/Centraide of Windsor-Essex County. His most recent project has been the start-up of the GenNext Committee, a group of Canadians between the ages of 20 and 40 who are interested in philanthropy and giving back to the community. As chair of this committee, he has seen this group grow from 5 to over 50 members. He has also organized events to assist community members with financial fitness, held networking events for those interested in volunteering, and led a community-wide event to support not-for-profit organizations.

In January 2006, Mr. Kalaci was selected to help manage the Canadian University Science Games at the University of Windsor, an event meant to build confidence in students by providing a venue for youth to demonstrate their creativity. This event provided volunteer opportunities for over 100 students and promoted a sense of community among the participants.

Mr. Kalaci has also devoted his time to fundraising for the Children's Miracle Network, and works with the AIDS Committee of Windsor on awareness initiatives and mentoring activities for youth leaders. In addition, he holds a Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science from the University of Windsor.

Mr. Kalaci is a model for youth leadership, as demonstrated through the contributions he continues to make within his community and beyond.

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482
    or
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559