Volunteer Stars Shine Bright at Awards Ceremony

Volunteering is a job that comes from the heart.  It is not done for money or recognition and it thrives off passion and love.

For the past 16 years, the Government of Alberta, through the Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards program, has been honouring some of the province’s top volunteers. Six awards are presented annually — two are presented in each category of youth, adult and senior. Since the inception of the awards program in 2000, 103 Alberta volunteers have received the honour.

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This year’s six recipients pictured above (left to right) —Harry Bartlett (senior category); Barbara Burgemeister (senior category); Dallas Ansell (youth category); Poshika Dhingra (youth category); Danisha Bhaloo (adult category); and Paul Finkleman (adult category) — all selflessly give to their communities through a number of projects and initiatives.

From mentoring youth and advocating for community infrastructure to supporting vulnerable populations and struggling families, they each go above and beyond to make their communities better. To read more about each recipient, click here.

“If you’re able to ignite a spark in someone else or help someone who is less fortunate, than you’ve lived a life worth living,” says Danisha.

Dallas couldn’t agree more.

“I have a passion for helping people,” says Dallas. “And I learn as much from the people I’m helping, as they learn from me.”

In an award ceremony held at Government House on Dec. 5, which is also International Volunteer Day, our 2016 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award recipients graciously accepted the awards from Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Lois Mitchell and Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda.

“It’s a real honour to be here,” said Barbara. “I am so grateful for having my name put forward.”

“Volunteering in itself is a reward,” said Poshika. “But getting recognized like this in such a huge way, motivates me to do more. This is a great achievement for me.”

While Harry Bartlett takes pride in the projects he has helped bring to his community of Slave Lake, receiving a Star of Alberta Volunteer Award in the senior category is a humbling milestone in his life.

“It’s a great distinction to be here,” says Harry. “It’s a tremendous feeling when the people you’re helping come up and thank you. To be here today is mind-bogging.”

As you listened to the speeches of each recipient, one thing became clear: they all had a support system behind them.

“You can’t do it alone,” said Danisha.

Paul Finkleman, recipient in the adult category, echoed this sentiment.

“When you get to work with a team of people who have a common goal, you can achieve so much,” said Paul. “No one volunteers for the recognition, but it certainly feels good to be appreciated.”

Nomination forms for the 2017 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards will be available next June. Stay tuned to the website for more information.

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