For the past 40 years, we have held an annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet to honor the contributions of our volunteers. Throughout the year, we provide on-going support and thanks to our volunteers, however it is at the banquet where we come together to formally recognize the achievements of the entire volunteer team. This year, we unfortunately had to cancel the event. So what did we do? We faced this challenge with innovation, determination and commitment to our volunteers. On Wednesday, June 17, we hosted our first ever VIRTUAL Volunteer Appreciation Banquet!
We had over 80 participants and the Bernard Betel Centre staff and Board of Directors brought greetings and thanks in English and Russian to our volunteer team, who contributed 22,150 hours of service last year. As Gail Gould, Executive Director said “We want to thank our volunteers who share their expertise, time, and bring richness to the Bernard Betel Centre, and who bring skills, advice, intellect, leadership, and compassion. You help us strengthen and build our community.” A beautiful tribute video was played with an original song titled ‘Thank You’ written and performed by Jerry Rush and Dianne Erdos-Rush.
We were pleased to have some special guests join us for the celebration. CAA South Central Ontario was named, Honorary Corporate Volunteer Group for their assistance and support during the pandemic. Representatives from the Community Services Response Fleet were in attendance and accepted this award on behalf of their colleagues.
In April we were contacted by a team of storytellers wanting to learn and document how front line agencies are dealing with the pandemic and this unprecedented time in our history. We ended the evening with the premiere of the documentary and were honored to have Executive Producer and Editor, Peter Miller and Executive Producer and Director, Navin Ramaswaran in attendance to introduce their film.
There were smiles, tears, and lots of laughs throughout the evening! Although we missed the delicious dinner, the hugs, and seeing everyone in person, we were so thrilled to be able to see many familiar faces that we miss so much!
Thank you to those who participated on Wednesday evening. To our incredible volunteers, we are so grateful for the dedication and compassion you bring to your volunteer work. THANK YOU! We look forward to being together again soon.
To view a recording of the Virtual Volunteer Banquet 2020 click HERE.