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National Volunteer Week Activities

*Updated on April 8, 2014
April 4, 2014

Governor General to Celebrate National Volunteer Week 

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will participate in a variety of activities to highlight National Volunteer Week, from April 6 to 12, 2014.

“National Volunteer Week gives us an opportunity to thank volunteers whose valued contributions enrich our collective well-being,” said the Governor General. “In addition to thanking those who give so generously of themselves, I encourage you to have your own giving moment as a way to foster and celebrate giving in your communities.” 

Below are the events in which Their Excellencies will participate:

Monday, April 7
Ottawa, Ontario

11 a.m.
Caring Canadian Award Presentation Ceremony
His Excellency will present the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award to 46 volunteers from across the country and from various sectors. Over the last two years, the contributions of more than 475 volunteers have been recognized with the Caring Canadian Award. For more information about this award, visit

The full list of recipients and their citations will be published in a separate advisory.
Rideau Hall

1:30 p.m.
Volunteer Recognition Event and Tour of Ottawa Hospital Facilities
The Governor General will deliver a speech on the importance of giving and present the Caring Canadian Award to three dedicated Ottawa Hospital volunteers. Following the ceremony, Their Excellencies will tour some of the hospital’s innovative research facilities for a look at cell manufacturing, the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN) system, and the CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery system.

The names and citations of the Caring Canadian Award recipients are included below:

Gregory Kane
Ottawa, Ontario 

Gregory Kane is a long-time supporter of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation and has worked to strengthen this institution in many different ways. Notably, he was a leader in the Legacy Campaign, which raised $100 million to build the Critical Care Wing at the hospital’s General Campus. He is also an active volunteer with the President’s Breakfast for the Public Service; The Ottawa Hospital Gala committee; the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala committee; and the National Arts Centre Gala committee, which raises funds for the National Youth and Education Trust. He also established the Gregory Kane Family Scholarship at the University of Ottawa for a first-year student who is active in the community as a volunteer.

Barbara C. Vanderhyden
Ottawa, Ontario 

For the past two decades, Barbara Vanderhyden has combined volunteerism with her scientific work as a cancer researcher. In 1993, she established the Let’s Talk Science–Parlons Science program, which later became a national charitable organization. In 2006, she established and still runs Science Travels–La science voyage, providing workshops in remote northern First Nations and Inuit communities. In 2009, she created an Aboriginal mentorship program that matches science graduates with promising Native high school students from reserves near the National Capital Region. Parallel to her career and these other initiatives, she has held volunteer leadership positions with Ovarian Cancer Canada, and still finds the time to meet one-on-one with women who struggle with their diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Mary Sarah Wilson
Ottawa, Ontario 

Mary Sarah Wilson epitomizes the best of what an Ottawa Hospital volunteer can be, providing compassionate care for people in need. Her volunteer work with the hospital spans two decades at several locations, including the Riverside Campus, the Palliative Care unit, the Eye Centre and the coffee shop at the Riverside campus. She is also very active in her community church, assisting with various events and fundraisers, and is a member of the weekly women’s group meeting.

Atrium, Critical Care Wing, The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, 501 Smyth Road
Media contact: Tracey Tong, 613-798-5555 ext. 19816,

Wednesday, April 9
Kanata, Ontario

10:15 a.m.
National We Day
The Governor General will attend the National We Day event to share his views on the importance of giving and volunteering in the community during an on-stage conversation with Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children, before an audience of 16 000 youth and educators. On this special occasion, His Excellency will also present the Caring Canadian Award to four inspiring youth who have made a difference through local and global volunteering. The event will be streamed live online at starting at 9:30 a.m. EST.

An initiative of Free The Children, We Day is a stadium-sized educational event and movement of young people leading local and global change. This year alone, over 180 000 young people will come together in 13 cities across North America and the U.K. to take part in this unprecedented educational initiative. We Day is tied to the year-long We Act program, which offers free educational resources, student-led campaigns and support materials to help turn the event’s inspiration into sustained activation.

The names and citations of the Caring Canadian Award recipients are included below:

Mitch Kurylowicz
Manotick, Ontario 

When Mitch Kurylowicz went to Kenya at the age of nine, he was inspired to help the boys he met there to continue their education. He turned that inspiration into action and is now helping to spearhead Project Jenga, in which his own community has become involved to support a new boys high school in rural Kenya.

Izabelle O’Connor
Stittsville, Ontario 

Izabelle O’Connor has shown an incredible commitment to bettering the lives of others. She mobilized her peers to install change boxes beside every cash register in their local grocery store to encourage the whole community to support Free The Children’s programming.

Max Touchette
Ottawa, Ontario 

Max Touchette’s commitment to his community and support for others stands out. He works with youth and schools all across the Ottawa region to support their involvement in Free The Children’s campaigns throughout the year, and helps reach out to other partners, as he will notably do during a trip to Kenya this summer. 

Faduma Wais
Orléans, Ontario

Faduma Wais is a leader in her school’s social action club. A caring student and a long-standing volunteer, she has been a force behind innovative events, such as “Dodge 4 Hunger,” a social awareness dodge ball tournament held last fall.

Canadian Tire Centre
Media contact: Lauren Stasila, 416-558-9310, 


Media information:

Marie-Pierre Bélanger
Rideau Hall Press Office

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