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Annual General Meeting 2014 Celebrates Community with Caring Canadian Award Ceremony

The 19th Annual General Meeting of LiveWorkPlay was a memorable evening. Attendance of more than 150 members and other supporters were on hand to enjoy a delicious meal and some special ceremonies before and after the conducting of the important annual business of the corporation.

The celebrations began with a very special guest, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, who was very happy to meet and talk with 10 recipients of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award before taking part in an official presentation. Each of the recipients has a LiveWorkPlay connection, but are also giving back to their community as volunteers with other causes and organizations.

Created in 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, and who have helped build a smarter and more caring nation.

In her speech, Madame Johnston made a number of generous comments about LiveWorkPlay, including the following:

Your organization’s theory of social change contributes to a smart and caring nation. I am taken by your approach and methodology. For me, this represents an example of what can be done when “smart” and “caring” are joined together.

Her Excellency Sharon Johnston (centre) with Caring Canadian Award recipients. From left to right are Ken Sparks, David Hernandez, Jim Carter, Andrew Bearss, Ellyce Wright, Lucas Rogers, Suhail Choudhary, Emily Menard, Jennifer Harris, and Rachel Wexler. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.
Her Excellency Sharon Johnston (centre) with Caring Canadian Award recipients. From left to right are Ken Sparks, David Hernandez, Jim Carter, Andrew Bearss, Ellyce Wright, Lucas Rogers, Suhail Choudhary, Emily Menard, Jennifer Harris, and Rachel Wexler. Not pictured (recipients unable to attend): Jessie Huggett, Chelsea Stanley, and Vaughn McKinney.  Photo courtesy of  the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

Patricia Jaton, Deputy Secretary, Policy, Program and Protocol Branch, introduced each recipient and invited them to come forward to receive their award from Her Excellency.

Jennifer Harris, a long-time LiveWorkPlay member fresh from volunteering at the September 18 golf tournament (in partnership with Rotary Club of West Ottawa) had perhaps the best line of the night. As Madame Jaton listed many of Jennifer’s volunteer experiences, Ms. Harris replied “And that’s only about half of them!” to the delight of Her Excellency and the audience.

The regular business of the evening was then conducted by Co-Chair Cecelia Taylor, with presentations by auditor Ross Holmes and Co-Leaders Keenan Wellar and Julie Kingstone also forming part of the agenda. The agenda closely mirrored the information available in the Annual Report.

There were four new members added to the nine-member Board of Directors, who held their first meeting right after the conclusion of the AGM. “I am so excited to be a part of this team and can’t wait to get started,” commented newcomer Stacey Diffin-Lafleur.

royce-video
Royce Rinne talks about the experience of working at Dow Honda

The final agenda item of the night was a video release featuring member Royce Rinne, an employee at Dow Honda. The video was commissioned by Andrew Bearss, Dow Honda General Manager, and produced by videographer Carlo Lombard. Mr. Bearrs received a Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award earlier in the evening, and was also elected to the Board of Directors. Mr. Bearrs is a founding member of the LiveWorkPlay Employment Task Force and has been leading by example in his own workplace, as well as promoting the hiring of persons with intellectual disabilities to other employers.

Royce himself was initially conflicted about watching himself in the video, but as the audience exploded with their positive reaction, he warmed to the experience and joined in the celebrations. His concluding comments in the video were a fitting end to a wonderful event.

“They’re nice guys. Getting paid well and living on my own, that makes me very happy.”

The parting words from the night were reminders from Julie and Keenan that the organization will celebrate a 20th anniversary in 2015. Founding member Warren Murphy immediately seized upon the invitation to assist in planning for the occasion in June.

“I told Keenan that I want to be on a committee to work on this,” said Warren. “It needs to be just as fun as our other events only we need to invite a lot more people!”

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