For Immediate Release
Mississauga – At its Annual Day of Celebration on October 12, Peel Children’s Centre (PCC) presented its Ron Lenyk Volunteer of the Year Award to Matthew Ribeiro.
Matthew is a dedicated volunteer in PCC’s Mentor/Tutor Program, which matches trained volunteers with children or youth who are experiencing mental health challenges. The mentor/tutor provides role modelling, social support and academic coaching.
In 2010, Matthew was matched with a young man who had been bullied at school. As a result, the youth was ambivalent towards school and struggling academically. He also had anger management and self-esteem issues.
“One of the keys to Matthew’s success was his desire to get as much advice as possible to help this young man reach his full potential,” PCC Volunteer Coordinator Linda Buchanan said. “Matthew also refused to give up on this youth. If one approach didn’t work, he tried another.”
Buchanan recounted Matthew’s creativity in encouraging the youth to develop his literacy skills. “This youth was shy about reading out loud or sharing his written work. Matthew tried several approaches, even video-game manuals and charades. Nothing was working … or so it seemed.
“But one day, to Matthew’s surprise, the youth was carrying around a book – something Matthew had never seen before. Intuitively, Matthew knew what to do. He didn’t ask about the book; he asked about the book’s characters. An animated conversation ensued. And that was the tipping point. Success was in the air.
“The next time they met, the youth had read three chapters. A few days later, Matthew made an unexpected stop at the youth’s home to pick up the cell phone he had forgotten. He found the youth reading the book instead of watching the Super Bowl. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.”
Ron Lenyk, who joined PCC staff to present the award, said, “Matthew, on behalf of all the families who benefit from PCC’s mental health services, congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. You exemplify the Centre’s vision of A Caring Community Working Together for Children and Youth.”
“Each year more than 120 specialized volunteers support the children, youth and families at Peel Children’s Centre,” said Humphrey Mitchell, the Centre’s Executive Director. “Our volunteers are mentors, tutors, respite providers, childcare workers, drivers, fundraising assistants, and members of our Board of Directors. Volunteers are truly the heart of our agency,” Mitchell said.
Peel Children’s Centre dedicated its volunteer award to Ron Lenyk in 2008 in recognition of Ron’s leadership as a volunteer, philanthropist and advocate. Recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre, Ron was formerly Publisher of The Mississauga News. He is a generous supporter of numerous health, social service, sports and cultural charities.
The Volunteer Coordination Program at Peel Children’s Centre receives generous financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario. Visit www.trilliumfoundation.org for information.
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Information: Mora Thompson, Communications Specialist 905-795-3507