Mississauga – At its Annual Day of Celebration on October 10, Peel Children’s Centre presented its Ron Lenyk Volunteer of the Year Award to Stephanie Barbosa.
Stephanie is a dedicated volunteer in the Childcare Program at Peel Children's Centre (PCC). A Brampton resident, Stephanie became a PCC volunteer in the spring of 2011 while completing her Honours Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology at the University of Guelph.
PCC’s childcare volunteers provide on-site care so parents can attend educational, support or counselling sessions at PCC. Many PCC families do not have access or the financial means to arrange their own childminding support.
Stephanie has provided childcare during group services and individual appointments. The childcare volunteer role can be challenging due to the children’s mix of ages and behaviours, as well as space constraints. But none of these factors has deterred Stephanie.
“Stephanie goes above and beyond many volunteers in that she makes herself available so often and so readily,” said Linda Buchanan, Volunteer Coordinator at PCC. “She brings with her a calm and nurturing approach. Many clinicians and families ask specifically for her.”
Calling Stephanie “the Childcare Whisperer,” Linda Buchanan recalled a 5-year-old boy who “could go from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds and no one, including his parents, could settle him.
“During one particularly difficult session at PCC, the boy’s worker asked Stephanie to join them. To everyone’s disbelief, Stephanie was able to calm him to the point where she and he could go into another room and have an engaging hour together. Stephanie has a tremendous gift.”
Ron Lenyk, who joined PCC staff to present the award, said, “Stephanie, 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.”
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. Currently 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 has received generous financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario.