55 PLUS CENTRE
55 PLUS CENTRE
THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre volunteers have received the Community Leader Award as part of the 2019 Canada’s Volunteer Awards issued by the Government of Canada. The Centre’s volunteers were recognized for their role in preventing social isolation among older adults and contributing to positive physical, social and mental well-being.
Canada’s Volunteer Awards recognize volunteers across the country for their commitment to making a difference in their communities. In the Community Leader Award category, five awards were given out across Canada, with the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre volunteers winning for Ontario. Over 300 nominations were received and a total of 21 awards were given out across different award categories.
The 55 Plus Centre has over 200 volunteers over the age of 55 who collectively log approximately 21,000 volunteer hours for the Centre’s activities, events and outreach programs. The Centre typically sees nearly 500 people walk through the doors per day, taking part in various registered and drop-in programs, or stopping by the gift shop, café and library.
“This award emphasizes that volunteers are the heart of our community,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “The 55 Plus Centre volunteers step up time and time again to ensure that older adults have positive and meaningful opportunities to engage year round. I would like to express my congratulations and appreciation to them for all they do in our community.”
Staff at the Centre say that many seniors accredit the 55 Plus Centre and its volunteers as the reason they are able to continue to live in their homes and avoid some of the classic signs of aging such as social isolation, income insecurities and health issues.
“Thunder Bay has an aging population, and the 55 Plus Centre serves as a gathering place for older adults to take part in experiences that help them stay connected and physically active,” said Tessa Hettrick, Program Volunteer Coordinator for the 55 Plus Centre. “The Centre volunteers are a huge part of that.”
During the threat of COVID-19, the 55 Plus Centre has remained closed, but that hasn’t stopped volunteers from stepping up in other ways. Volunteers have been helping with the Support Services program, which connect them with seniors via phone to maintain social connections through friendly chats each week.
A full list of award winners and profiles can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/volunteer-awards
For more information on becoming a 55 Plus Centre volunteer, visit www.thunderbay.ca/55Plus