BY: ASHELLY SMITH
“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they are worthless but because they are priceless” ~ Sherry Anderson.
That is exactly who Gerry Young is – priceless! Young was presented with an award by the Kiwanis Club of Brampton on May 25th, 2018 for Outstanding Community Volunteerism. This award honors the club’s late George (Joe) W. Harley who was a past president of the Kiwanis Club of Brampton and a lifetime member. Young volunteers with Regeneration Outreach Community, a non-profit organization that serves both the practical and spiritual needs of homeless guests. The evening started out with a welcome note and an introduction of M.C. by Esther Menezes Roberts, president of the club. The M.C. was Brampton’s Councillor Jeff Bowman, who is a tireless volunteer with several community organizations in Brampton.
At dinner, guests were served by Carl’s Catering at The Glen with a healthy cooked chicken breast and steamed string beans and carrots. A glass of red or white wine was served and the people’s favorite, a glass of water with lemon. Dessert was sumptuous with a slice of cheesecake; one cannot possibly go wrong with that food serving. While guests ate, there was a musical interlude by a St.Roch’s Secondary student, Khalen Moodie. He is a well-mannered student with a beautiful voice. He not only has a musical talent but a heart to volunteer tirelessly.
“I like to help out. I’ve got a lot of skills a lot of people don’t have so why not help those people feel better,” said Moodie.
Though many teenagers at his age would not have the desire to volunteer as it is a free service, Moodie thinks otherwise:
“If you find something you are interested in, for example construction, if you find a theatre company and they need help with constructing the company and it’s something you enjoyed, you won’t find it as work. You will find it fun so you do forty hours right there but it won’t even feel like that because it’s something you enjoy,”.
Soon it was time for the keynote speaker Maria Britto to address the audience but why was Maria chosen to speak at the awards night?
“The reason they asked me is that I have done volunteering for decades and I have done them with hundreds of charitable organizations. And for me, it’s the blood that runs through my veins something that I have to do” said Britto passionately.
Maria Britto is a successful businesswoman, the first female president of the Brampton Board of Trade and 2010 Brampton Citizen of the Year. As a businesswoman, she commented that money isn’t everything.
“The funny thing is, at the time in your life when you need someone the most, money will not heal you. We go through depression, mental health, we have children in distress all of that stuff, money doesn’t help you. Its’ that loving hand and nurturing of good people together that really brings you back to life, to enjoy life, you know, the old saying says money doesn’t buy you love”.
The moment everyone was waiting for, the recognition and presentation of certificates and awards. The 2018 award nominees were John Masterson from Kiwanis Club of East York, Ron Smith (Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel) and Gerry Young (Regeneration Outreach Community). Gerry Young was the 90-year-old winner from nomination.
“I feel honored but I’m surprised really,” said Young. For people who are reluctant to volunteer, Gerry had this to say: “Get a life!” he remarked with laughter.
Gerry is a well-spoken old man with his reasonability intact. He gave his life to the Lord at the age of fifty-eight and never looked back.
Kiwanis Club of Brampton is a part of Kiwanis International, a global organization of over 600,000 members dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Past President of Kiwanis Club of Brampton (2007-2008), was present at the dinner.
“Tonight is about celebrating and recognizing the contributions of volunteers in the community. Not only our club but also our community partners who we support on an ongoing basis that are also volunteering organizations. Our focus, is on children, improving their lives in our community, one child at a time.”
In every organization there are challenges but for Kiwanis Club of Brampton, it’s building awareness in the community.
“We do amazing work in the community, but nobody knows who we are, that’s the challenge for us today as a registered children’s charity. Despite our history and the contributions of numerous work we’ve done, when we go out in the community and we ask do you know Kiwanis Club and what do they do? Sadly, the community at large does not know but that’s really our fault because today not only you need to commit to your values and missions, but you also need to be a good business marketing organization. We are not good at marketing ourselves. We do extraordinary work in the community and our track record speak for itself but by not having that recognition in the community it means that we deny the opportunity to bring like-minded people into our organization and give them the opportunity to help us grow,” said Allain.
Kiwanis Club of Brampton supports over twenty local non-profit organizations that serve children and families. If you are a lover of children, you should visit their meetings which are held every second Wednesday of the month at 247 Mcmurchy Avenue South, Brampton. The club also has exciting upcoming events such as Brampton Kitefest (June 9-10) and Kiwanis Comedy Night (October 26). For more information, visit the Kiwanis Club Of Brampton website and enjoy volunteering your time within the community.