Volunteers: Recognizing our volunteers

Today is a day for congratulations.

Congratulations to Vonnie Lavers who received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service.

As executive director of Kelowna’s Community Food Bank, Lavers was recognized for addressing the need of vulnerable families for nutritious food.

Congratulations go to Alaina Podmorow, a 15-year-old dynamo, who was named Canada’s Top Teen Philanthropist of 2011 by Mackenzie Investments. (For her story visit

Through her charity called Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, Podmorow has raised almost $375,000 to train and to pay teachers as well as for libraries in rural areas.

Abby Kiehlbauch is congratulated for acting on her compassion. This 10 year old created a website to raise funds and donated her hair to make a wig. The result was $2,525 for our local Canadian Cancer Society.

Compassion, action and impact abound in our community and that will be the theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week April 15 to 21.

Now is the time to plan ways to thank and to recognize volunteers who are active all around us. Consider whether people are achievers, friendship- or influence-oriented and plan accordingly.

High achievers think before acting, act with logic and fair play and work towards excellence and improved performance.

Recognition might include pins, certificates, letters of recommendation, promotion to more challenging tasks, additional training and knowing the results of their work.

The high affiliation person offers the friendly helping hand towards decisions made by others. This person enjoys being with others in mutual friendship.

Their recognition needs to focus on sharing success stories in groups, including family, noticing how friendships have grown and celebrating with a party.

Influence-oriented people provide direction, see opportunities, make decisions, influence others and make an impact.

Recognition for these individuals involves public recognition, media coverage, working with decision makers, being part of the action and given opportunities for innovation.

The best recognition of all comes with being regularly noticed and thanked personally.

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