VOscars event celebrates volunteers across Ottawa

By Andrea Bennett

Volunteer Ottawa is hosting the 2023 VOscars Volunteer Awards evening, set to take place at Sala San Marco on Oct. 26 and highlights the work of volunteers and non-profits in Ottawa.

Christine Trauttmansdorff, executive director with Volunteer Ottawa, told the Sam Laprade Show, the organization will be presenting eight awards – including the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award – in an effort to recognize exceptional community members who are donating their time for a good cause.

The gala evening will include a cocktail hour, buffet dinner, live entertainment from OrKidstra, and the 2023 VOscars winners announced live, said Trauttmansdorff.

“One of the highlights of the evening is the presentation of Lifetime Achievement award to Sarah Onyango,” she added. “She’s a well-known community broadcaster, active in the African-Caribbean community in Ottawa, Black History Ottawa, United Way, and Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership – she’s just spectacular.”

Mayor Sutcliffe will be in attendance, presenting the ‘Mayor’s Award for Volunteer Spirit’ along with United Way East Ontario, recognizing ‘an individual or group of individuals who exemplify the spirit of volunteering in Ottawa through their significant community impact.’

“We have close to 100 nominations for the eight awards,” explained Trauttmansdorff. “We’ve got three finalists in each category, and it’s top secret who’s going to be getting the awards next Thursday, except for Sarah, that’s well known.”

While Volunteer Ottawa’s executive director acknowledged that volunteer recruitment has been lower since the COVID-19 pandemic, she explained charities and non-profits across the city are reliant on volunteers and are seeking additional help.

“Volunteer programs have restarted, but that shortage we talked about last spring, they’re still feeling it,” Trauttmansdorff pointed out.

Volunteer Ottawa hosted a volunteer expo, in the form of a recruitment fair, last month – and the event sold out, with five additional organizations participating than originally planned.

“We packed in five more than we originally had room for because they were so anxious to be there and talk to members of the public who might be interested in giving them a hand,” she said.

Trauttmansdorff went on to say, a great way to thank a volunteer is through the ‘Donate a Ticket Campaign,’ where community members can donate a ticket to a member organization.

“Anyone who goes on the website, buys a ticket and writes ‘donate’ in the notes section, that’s going to be offered to one of our member organizations so they can invite one of their volunteer members who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend,” she added.

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