Vital People - 2018 Recipients

1. Carley Andison, Coordinator, Wish & Volunteer Services, Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario

Grant: $750

For: Carley will attend the International Make-A-Wish Conference where she’ll have the incredible opportunity to learn from both internal expertise and external facilitators as well as from multi-cultural influences. She will learn new skills and techniques through professionally led sessions, network with colleagues and share best practices.

Impact: Engaging with more than 180 volunteers, Wish Families and donors, Carley will be able to put into practice her new leadership skills acquired from the conference. Carley will also be able to interact with these groups of people using best practices for multiple cultures.


2. MacKenzie Hamilton Shaw, Trainer, Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre Inc.

Grant: $1,000

For: A clinic trainer with great volunteer management and leadership, MacKenzie is responsible for the birds of prey at Salthaven, including providing emergency medical care. Mackenzie is using her grant to attend a four-day intensive workshop for the Care and Management of Captive Raptors (birds of prey). Here, Mackenzie will expand her techniques and practices in caring for and training the raptors.

Impact: As the only facility within a 100KM radius that works to rehabilitate raptors, Salthaven plays a critical role in the surrounding wildlife community. Mackenzie’s new training will facilitate quicker recovery times, allowing more raptors to be admitted as patients and in turn, saving the lives of more birds.


3. Jay Lawrence, Community Youth Sports Coordinator, London Youth for Christ (YFC)

Grant: $400

For: Jay runs the YFC Compass Academy, a mentoring program for boys that uses basketball to encourage excellence in the classroom, in the community and on the court.  Jay will use his grant to expand his basketball coaching skills at one of the largest clinics in the world, with top coaches - the PGC/Glazier Basketball Coaching Clinic in Chicago. With a large majority of the boys being immigrants and refugees, the program creates a safe space to work on academics, basketball and character (the ABCs).

Impact: The clinic will provide Jay with training and development to thoroughly onboard volunteer coaches, which will allow the program to grow and expand. The community, in turn, will have more skilled coaches to train and encourage youth in basketball, creating potential opportunities down the road for the youth to pursue post-secondary education from a basketball scholarship.


4. Brianna Evans, Communications Associate, Ronald McDonald House Charities Southwestern Ontario

Grant: $1,000

For: Responsible for internal and external communications, fundraising support and outreach initiatives, Brianna plays a critical role at Ronald McDonald House Charities. With the Southwestern Ontario Chapter growing, the need for stories to help raise funds it great. To help elevate their story-telling, Brianna will use her grant toward her Business Professional Certificate in Multimedia Storytelling and Content Marketing.

Impact: Wanting to do more than just share a story, Brianna will use this opportunity to improve and grow Ronald McDonald House Charities SouthWestern Ontario’s multi-media culture. Brianna aims to connect people to another’s journey, encouraging feelings of connectivity that could lead to wanting to help, all while honouring the families impacted.


5. Sam Dow, Operations Manager, London Community Resource Centre

Grant: $365

For: With leadership skills that help the LCRC have a bigger impact on the health and well being of community members, Sam will be using his grant toward his Professional Certificate in Not-For-Profit Management from Western Continuing Studies.

Impact: Sam has worked diligently to rise from a part-time garden maintenance employee to Operations Manager. Getting his certificate from Western Continuing Studies will allow him to gain greater confidence and understanding of his responsibilities in the work he is doing.


6. Skylar Franke, Network Coordinator, Thames Talbot Land Trust

Grant: $415

For: Having already completed 6/7 courses toward her Professional Certificate in Leadership at Western Continuing Studies, Skylar will use the Vital People Award toward her final course “Strategic Leadership,” completing her certificate. As the sole staff member at the London Environmental Network (LEN), educational opportunities to expand her skill set and knowledge of leadership is important.

Impact: With days full of events, meetings, workshops, networking events, and collaboration with the local environmental sector, Skylar is the face of the London Environmental Network. Skylar is in the process of leading LEN through the process of incorporation, a critical process, that will require strong, skilled leadership. Her completed certificate will allow her to better support other environmental leaders, particularly the LEN members.


7. Renée Coughlin, Education Specialist, London Regional Children’s Museum

Grant: $430

For: Renée, responsible for the Early Years programming, furthered her knowledge base in early learning as she fuelled her spark and curiosity at London Bridge’s “Come in Curious” conference in June 2018. Renée was encouraged to listen and think critically while refining questions and theories surrounding early learning. Renée also attended the “Indigenous Way of Knowing in Early Years Setting” session.

Impact: With Renée’s Early Years programming reaching over 88,000 visitors annually, the conference will provide Renee with more strategies for integrating early years research into program design and implementation. It will also help her further refine the goals and outcomes for these programs. Renée is further equipped to ensure the Children’s Museum is a safe, inclusive and welcoming community space as a result of the Indigenous session she sat in on.


8. Amanda Conlon, Executive Director, London Regional Children’s Museum

Grant: $1,000

For: Amanda will be attending the American Alliance of Museums’ Annual Meeting and Museum Expo. This conference offers more than 160 interactive sessions, aiming to look at museum innovation, free exchange of ideas, and the strength of the community. This conference is a great way for Amanda to explore how museums act as community hubs for activation and learning. Amanda will also be  delivering a presentation, “Communicating without Text,” at the conference.

Impact: With Amanda delivering a presentation, it’s a great way to present both the Children’s Museum and London community as a leader in the field of culture and education. As well, the conference sessions will offer invaluable knowledge as the Children’s Museum navigates their transition to their new building, including more interactive play, up-to-date exhibits and a shared space that fosters innovation.


9. Albert Brule, Director Resource & Business Development, Pillar Nonprofit Network

Grant: $2,000

For: Albert had the wonderful opportunity to attend the AFP 2018 International Fundraising Conference. With many sessions aligned with a number of Pillar’s strategic goals and objectives, Albert found this conference to be of great value to Pillar and the community.

Impact: Albert is using his learned knowledge, from areas like board governance and diversity, fundraising and storytelling, to create workshops for Pillar to offer to the broader community.  He’s been able to bring the experience and insights back to the Pillar team, sharing trends and approaches to fundraising. The conference has expanded Albert’s knowledge as an educator and workshop presenter.


10. Rebecca Machado, Executive Director, Daya Counselling Centre

Grant: $1,350

For: Rebecca will attend training offered by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) focused on the legal, ethical, and professional standards in the practice of clinical supervision. With a career goal to ensure that the mental health/counselling needs of all Londoners are met in a timely fashion by skilled professional, Rebecca has been led to develop the internship/clinical supervision at Daya Counselling Centre.

Impact: Through training to offer high quality clinical supervision to new psychotherapists, Daya will ensure the highest quality service for the greatest number of vulnerable clients.  Developing such a program requires continued skill development. It’s a powerful way to increase Daya’s capacity to respond and come closer to meeting the level of need in London and area.


11. Jessie Collins, Education Specialist, London Regional Children’s Museum

Grant: $675

For: Already equipped with an Ontario teaching certificate, Jessie will use her grant to enroll in and complete Part 1 of the Special Education Additional Qualification course from Western University. This course will equip Jessie with the necessary tools and knowledge to program plan for those with behavioural, communication, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities.

Impact: As the Education Specialist, Jessie designs and delivers London Children’s Museum education programs, both on-site and in classrooms across the region. Jessie also designs STEAM weekend programming at the Museum.  By working on her Special Education AQ, Jessie will be empowered to continue inspiring all children with creativity, curiosity and a lifelong love of learning through hands-on learning experiences. Jessie will be able to act as a leader and coach to other London Children’s Museum educators and staff.


12. Kelsey Nicholls, Community Engagement Coordinator, ReForest London

Grant: $932.92

For: Taking the lead and overseeing all aspects of volunteer management at ReForest London, Kelsey will further develop her skills by attending the Professional Association of Volunteer Leaders Ontario conference in Mississauga.

Impact: The conference will provide Kelsey with many new learning opportunities. In turn, this will allow her to lead volunteers more effectively, encouraging them to reach their highest potential while providing them with meaningful work that directly reflects ReForest London’s mission. Overall, the volunteer program at ReForest London will be better at recruiting, training, and stewarding volunteers.