The annual Easter Seals National Volunteer Awards – announced during National Volunteer Week each year – honours and celebrates the contributions of Canadians from coast to coast who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to Easter Seals’ mission and vision through their volunteerism, time, passion and dedication to Easter Seals.
Easter Seals congratulates the winners of the inaugural National Volunteer Awards (2019), and thanks each individual for their contributions to Easter Seals and in helping make Canada a more inclusive society for people of all abilities.
Easter Seals also thanks all of our other volunteers for their dedication, commitment, time and contributions to Easter Seals and their support in advancing Easter Seals mission and vision to enhance the quality of life, well-being and independence of Canadians who are living with disabilities/with diverse abilities.
Read the nomination biographies for each award winner in the links below.
Manitoba: Jordy Davis
Jordy has been volunteering for Easter Seals Manitoba (ESM) since 2017 on a regular basis. As a person with a disability that affects her mobility and gross and fine motor skills, Jordy is a great example of someone who focuses on her abilities. In her volunteer role with Easter Seals Manitoba, Jordy makes follow-up calls for our lottery to solicit ticket sales, for events to help get donations from businesses, and thank you calls to help ensure all our donors are properly thanked. In two years, she has made at least 5,000 phone calls!
“I like the combination of having different jobs and learning from different people” says Jordy. “I can also relate to the people I call”. Jordy—who lives with Cerebral Palsy—is no stranger to Easter Seals. Since the tender age of three, she has been supported by the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD), the organization that all money raised by Easter Seals Manitoba goes to support. Jordy was a participant of the Nursery School with Children’s Programs and Services, the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the Saving Circle and IDA Program, and Wheelchair Services.
Jordy Davis is a single mother who is passionate about being there for others when they are in need. She is always available to lend a helping hand. Between volunteering full-time and raising her teenage son, Jordy keeps herself busy. She currently uses her power wheelchair to get around and to volunteer. Jordy supports herself with walls or walkers when she is at home to keep up the mobility that she does have. She laughs and says the only time she had to use her power chair at home was when her son was younger, “to catch him when he was running around”. It is patient and kind-hearted volunteers like Jordy who donate the biggest gift we all have: time.
We are immensely pleased to pay tribute to Jordy Davis by presenting her with a 2019 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award.
Help us celebrate Jordy by sharing this incredible story!
Natasha Noel began volunteering with Easter Seals in Newfoundland & Labrador in 2010, and stepped-up into a leadership role in the weekly swimming program two years later. In this role, Natasha is the liaison for Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labrador and is on deck every week to oversee the program. She coordinates volunteers for one-on-one pairings with our participants, and also helps to develop an important connection with the families and participants to help plan a successful program.
Along with her contributions to the weekly swimming program, Natasha also assists Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labrador with the Sledge Hockey program. Just like she does in the swimming program, Natasha also plays a leadership role for the sledge hockey program where she is one of the on-ice leads. During practice, she leads games, drills, and oversees player skill development.
Natasha has shown an amazing dedication and commitment to the work of Easter Seals through her many years of volunteer service. She has been a dependable and active supporter of Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labrador and has helped many program participants grow, overcome barriers and their own fears – whether it be on the ice or in the pool. Thanks to Natasha’s support and confidence in them, many participants have been able to achieve goals they never thought possible for themselves. Natasha has been and continues to be a great asset to Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labrador and a strong supporter of our programs.
We are immensely pleased to pay tribute to Natasha Noel by presenting her with a 2019 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award.
Help us celebrate Natasha by sharing this incredible story!
Michelle Mahoney was born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy which affected the formation and muscular function of her arms and legs. In spite of these challenges or maybe because of them, Michelle has been a force to be reckoned with all of her life. She attended
Camp Tidnish as a child and those memories and experiences led her back to Easter Seals as an adult when she completed her university degree and moved to Halifax. Michelle sought out Easter Seals to give back in honour of time at Camp Tidnish. And give back she has.
Michelle has been an extraordinary volunteer for Easter Seals Nova Scotia. As a board member for 5 years, she has stepped up time and time again to attend every Easter Seals fundraising event to speak on behalf of the organization. She has fundraised extensively through Drop Zone and has completed the Drop Zone rappel 3 times in the last 3 years. Michelle enthusiastically tells her story through a lens of perseverance and sheer determination to any audience. Michelle will take on committee work with zest and put in many hours to ensure the strategic direction and financial sustainability of Easter Seals Nova Scotia has a steady hand. Michelle’s tenacity also inspires others with disabilities as she has become a gracious mentor and role model to other folks in the community who are living with disabilities.
Michelle makes it her mission to highlight the possible to others with disabilities in regards to education, accessibility, adaptable workplaces and meeting all challenges head on. She makes herself available to mentor young people as they determine their path and what options are available to them. Quite simply, Michelle is #unstoppABLE.
We are immensely pleased to pay tribute to Michelle Mahoney by presenting her with a 2019 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award.
Help us celebrate Michelle by sharing this incredible story!
Regardless of whether it’s in the north, south, east or west, if there is anyone at all who is willing to go the distance to raise awareness and support for Easter Seals kids and their families, it is Casey Mackay! There are no boundaries or limits to the extent that Casey will go for Easter Seals. He is always willing and eager to represent Easter Seals and speaks at multiple events throughout a year. Casey speaks with great compassion and love, and tells stories that never fails to leave an audience with a clearer understanding and insight into the life of a child/person with physical disabilities. But more importantly, he demonstrates that through strength and determination, and with some help from Easter Seals, that nothing is impossible: there is only unlimited possibilities for Easter Seals kids. There is nothing that he can’t do. At one such event, he took the dance floor by storm and danced his favourite country song with his walker, cowboy boots, hat and all! There was no doubt that he was the star that evening!
Recently, Casey was honored at the Easter Seals Celerity Slo- Pitch tournament by the Major of Barrie, where he also received an Honorary Citizen of Barrie Award for his commitment and compassion within the community. Not only is Casey an excellent speaker and ambassador for Easter Seals, he is also an avid fundraiser; he led the way last year as one of the top fundraisers for The Toronto Maple Leafs Skate. Because of Casey Mackay’s support, time and dedication to Easter Seals Ontario, the organization is stronger, and its mission has reached a wider audience and continues to resonate with donors, volunteers and stakeholders alike. Thank you Casey!
We are immensely pleased to pay tribute to Casey Mackay by presenting him with a 2019 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award.
Help us celebrate Casey by sharing this incredible story!
Dr. Ulla Nielsen has been a dedicated supporter of Camp Easter Seal in Saskatchewan for decades. As part of her pediatric medical residency, Ulla spent time working at Camp Easter Seal, and it was then that her long-term relationship with Easter Seals Saskatchewan™ began to grow. Her keen interest in enriching the lives of children and adults experiencing disability led her to serving on the volunteer Board of SaskAbilities for 26 years. During that time, Ulla filled many roles, including president. While Ulla retired from the Board in 2018, her fellow Board members are grateful for the leadership she demonstrated during those 26 years, and she has continued her association with the organization.
As a SaskAbilities Board member, Ulla served on the Camp Easter Seal Advisory Committee for several years. Her knowledge of disability and her compassion for others made her a valuable member of the team. Concurrently, Ulla served as the Easter Seals Saskatchewan™ Volunteer Chair of the Stay at Home Tea campaign, an annual fund raising initiative that assists with the cost of running the Camp Easter Seal program. Each summer, Ulla shares a tried and true recipe from her collection. Individuals are invited to make and enjoy the recipe with their tea on Stay at Home Tea day. Ulla continues in her role as the Easter Seals Saskatchewan™ Volunteer Chair of the Stay at Home Tea campaign. Through the years, Ulla has given many hours of her time to benefit campers in addition to sharing her expertise and experience to support Rehabilitation Services and strategic planning through her volunteer work on many Board committees. Fellow volunteers and staff members speak of Ulla with respect and she is a positive role model for others wanting to serve their communities.
We are immensely pleased to pay tribute to Dr. Ulla Nielsen by presenting her with a 2019 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award.
Help us celebrate Ulla by sharing this incredible story!
Mr. Vo-Dignard has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Papillon Foundation, proud partner of Easter Seals, since 2012. He is both professionally and socially committed, a great community builder. From the beginning, he got involved with the Drop Zone event. He graciously agreed to present and sponsor this outstanding event year after year with unfailing support. Proceeds from the Drop Zone funded vacation stays at Papillon Foundation summer camps for many children living with disabilities – who would otherwise not have been able to attend without the financial aid that was provided.
Mr. Vo-Dignard has made a significant and positive impact on the lives of so many children with disabilities. His dedication, along with his talent for rallying people together and mobilizing his personal networks of influence made him invaluable. His kindness and generosity know no bounds. He is a warm and deeply caring individual who has always worked to serve his community. He placed his dedication, professionalism, and selflessness at the service of the children.
We are immensely pleased to pay tribute to An-Lap Vo-Dignard by presenting him with a 2019 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award.
Help us celebrate An-Lap by sharing this incredible story!