The Youville Angel Awards

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Since it began at our 25th Anniversary Celebration in 2012, we have continued the tradition of honouring special partners, donors and volunteers with a “Youville Angel” award. This award is presented to exceptional individuals in our community who have gone above and beyond to provide unwavering support and constant advocacy for Youville Centre’s young mothers and their children.

2016 Recipients:

Shannon Gorman is not only one of our most generous donors and passionate advocates, she is also someone very close to our hearts, as she too was a young mom, and she has a deep understanding of the courage Youville Centre moms possess. Since 2012, Shannon and her team at TELUS and the TELUS Ottawa Community Board have made a powerful impact on Youville Centre’s young mothers and their children in a myriad of ways. She has led her team to make substantial gifts to Youville Centre through significant financial program support, in-kind donations, volunteer time sorting donations, painting, and planting gardens during the TELUS Day of Giving; and providing special gifts at Christmas time and for Mother’s Day. This is just to name a few of the ways Shannon and her TELUS team have “given where they live” to Youville Centre. It was due to Shannon’s vision and generosity that our Mentorship Program was born, and on more than one occasion Shannon has answered our call to visit the Centre to share her story and inspirational guidance with our young moms. Under Shannon’s leadership, and inspired by her sincere compassion for our young mothers and their children, TELUS has made it possible for hundreds of Youville’s young mothers and their children to access the programs and services they need in order to change the trajectory of their lives and work towards their dreams for the future. We simply cannot thank Shannon enough for all she has done for Youville Centre.

Linda Daily As a passionate advocate for Youville Centre through the work she has done with the Women in Leadership group at MBNA/TD Bank, Linda has consistently and generously contributed to Youville Centre in many ways. It has been a pleasure to work with Linda over the years to find new and innovative ways for her team to give to Youville’s young mothers and their children. We have enjoyed welcoming Linda and her colleagues to many Youville Centre events, and witnessing her compassion for our students first-hand. Since 2010, MBNA, which is now a division of TD Bank, has provided generous support to Youville Centre. When we met Linda, her passion and energy allowed us to work together more, and to provide new opportunities that would not only help our young moms and their children, but would also provide impactful experiences for the Women In Leadership group and MBNA/TD employees. Linda has led her team in giving to Youville’s young families by providing financial support and event sponsorship; substantial amounts of in-kind donations such as food, diapers, clothing, and school supplies; and attending our special events such as Graduation and our Christmas Luncheon. Our work with Linda has also helped us spread the word among the MBNA/TD Bank team about our Mentorship Program, and as a result we have had two TD Bank employees volunteer as one-on-one mentors. We cannot mention Linda’s contribution without thanking her for helping us to launch and continue running ABC Life Literacy’s Money Matters program in our Leader in Your Own Life credit-worthy course. Linda herself volunteered her time, and she personally recruited other MBNA/TD Bank volunteers to participate in this important financial literacy program. For her tireless leadership and giving spirit, we are thankful to Linda for her continued support of Youville Centre’s young mothers and their children.

Michelle Valberg is an internationally-known photographer and published author based here in Ottawa. We were very fortunate to meet Michelle through our good friend and fellow Youville Angel award recipient Marlene Shepherd of Shepherd’s Fashions. In 2011, Michelle generously offered to photograph one of our young moms and her child for an event poster to promote our fashion show fundraiser. This was in addition to auction items that she was generously donating to our annual event with Marlene and her team. Since then, Michelle has photographed more of Youville’s young moms and their children, and we have proudly shared her beautiful photos in our brochures, annual reports, newsletters, signage, and on our website. Michelle’s talent as a photographer is only matched by her compassion for others through her philanthropic pursuits, and you can feel the warmth and empathy she feels for people through her photographs. Each time a Youville student visited Michelle’s studio, she would return with a smile and a newfound confidence, as well as a beautiful photo of herself and her child that she could treasure forever. We are so grateful to Michelle for her gift of time and talent, and for helping our young moms feel confident as women and parents through the gift of photography.

Jay Sanko

The recipient of our Youville Centre Angel Award this evening is Jay Sanko, a parishioner at Divine Infant Catholic Church in Orleans. Divine Infant Parish has been supporting Youville Centre since its inception, and we have been fortunate to have many parishioners do their part over the years to help Youville Centre’s young mothers and their children. Jay’s energetic contribution has not only shown his compassion for our clients, but also his commitment to giving back to those most vulnerable in his community. Since 2012, Jay has been the cochair of Divine Infant’s annual charitable golf tournament in support of Youville Centre. To date, we have been very fortunate to receive over $9,500 from this event. A dedicated community leader and volunteer, Jay’s contributions, as well as his efforts in encouraging others to give, have made an immeasurable impact in the lives of Youville Centre’s young mothers and their children. Jay’s contribution goes beyond the financial support he and his team provide each year from the Divine Infant golf tournament. Through his organization and promotion of this annual event, Jay is also helping us share our message throughout the community. He is helping us erase stigma, break down barriers, and educate our local community about the needs and strengths our young mothers and their children possess. For this reason and so much more, we are proud to call Jay a “Youville Angel”.

2015 Recipients:

  • Jonathan Crosier
  • Dr. Sarah Oliver
  • Dwayne Brown

2014 Recipients:

  • Peggy Austen
  • David Smith
  • Theresa Smith

2013 Recipient:

Max Keeping

2012 Recipients Awarded at Youville Centre’s 25th Anniversary Celebration:

  • John Baird
  • Donald and Jean Eldon
  • Steve Georgopoulos
  • Dr. Tom Harle
  • Dennis Jackson
  • Hassa Mirchandani
  • Marlene Shepherd