Volunteers from around Nova Scotia were honoured at the province’s 42nd Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony on April 4.
Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, Premier Stephen McNeil and Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard celebrated 65 family, youth and community group volunteers nominated for their selfless contributions by their municipalities.
Local honorees included Isabel Williams for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, Leonna Dort of Mulgrave and Keith Jordan of St. Mary’s.
Among those honoured were Family Volunteer award recipients Nancy and Bernie Schultz of Dartmouth who co-founded the Last House on the Block Society in 2012. Their non-profit organization reaches out to people recovering from addictions, abuse and homelessness. Their main fundraising project is called Santa Under the Bridge, providing hundreds of Christmas bags containing hand-knit scarves to people in their community. The scarves are made from three different colours of yarn to represent the diverse people they are trying to help.
“Just like that little ball of yarn that most people would throw away, people in early recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness and the homeless often feel the same - that society has thrown them away,” said Schultz. “But working together, we can make something beautiful. Our winters are so dark and cold, so if we can give somebody a little bit of hope during this time, we’ve fulfilled our purpose.”
“Volunteering is part of what it means to be Canadian and it is why Canada is consistently rated as one of the best places in the world to live,” said Lt.-Gov. Grant. “I believe that Nova Scotians go further and volunteer - often at a personal cost - to ensure that all our citizens feel they are valued, respected and have a chance to live a good life. This is part of what makes Nova Scotia such a wonderful province.”
Julia Kuhn, of Halifax, was the recipient of the Youth Volunteer award this year. She has given her time and support to many different organizations, including Feed Nova Scotia, the Interact Club, Gender Sexuality Alliance, Brigadoon summer camps, Rotary Club, and the IWK where she has been a youth volunteer for 11 years.
“For me, helping in any way I can, for as many people as I can, is so important,” said Kuhn. “I want to help people feel better emotionally and to provide comfort for those who need it. You never know the impact a small gesture of kindness can have on someone.”