A Richmond non-profit has announced the winners of this year’s Volunteers Are Stars Awards in a virtual ceremony to commemorate National Volunteer Week.
Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG), a charity that encourages philanthropy and volunteering, held its annual celebration online to celebrate the city’s volunteers on April 21.
Despite the digital format for the celebration, nearly 70 people attended the event with a “huge sense of appreciation” [if he said it exactly like this] among the attendees, according to Ryan Luetzen, RCRG spokesperson.
“The past year, of course, has been challenging, and volunteers have played an important role in keeping our community connected,” said Luetzen.
This year, three individuals and one group were presented awards.
Nova Star Award
Jat Puri is this year’s recipient of the Nova Star Award, which recognizes individual volunteers whose contributions go above and beyond in Richmond. Puri’s volunteer experience includes volunteering with youth in the RCRG Youth Now program, supporting seniors alongside other RCRG board of directors, training volunteers for YVR’s Green Coat program, and supporting families living with AIDS through the Heart of Richmond AIDS Society.
Having worked tirelessly during the pandemic, the recipient of this award goes to the Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives Shopping Volunteers. This group has not only provided food deliveries to seniors but have also built social connection and offered a sense of comfort for those who have been unable to see their families during COVID-19. The volunteers help local seniors and clients with long-term health problems maintain their independence and remain in their homes for as long as possible.
Shooting Star Award
This award honours volunteers under 25. Rishika Selvakumar, 19, has accumulated over 9,000 hours of volunteer work and was chosen for her work in helping reduce stigma and raise awareness, to support those struggling with mental health issues. She has volunteered at the Richmond Olympic Oval and is a co-lead for the Anxiety Canada Youth Network, where she creates safe spaces for mental health discussions. Selvakumar has also created opportunities for youth through STEM and arts initiatives and provides young people with skills to overcome their personal challenges.
Star of Richmond
Richmond volunteers who have dedicated countless hours of service are given this award. This year’s recipient, Jean Garnett, showed her dedication and involvement in the community for over 30 years with countless hours of volunteering with school children to seniors. She has volunteered with the Canadian Federation of University Women, expanded scholarship programs for Richmond students, has helped lead Third Age Learning at Kwantlen, represented on parent advisory councils and has advocated for greater recognition for the arts community as a board member with the Richmond Arts Coalition.