By Mike Straus
The 4th Annual Kelowna Capital News Community Leader Awards was held at Okanagan College, Oct. 23, 2017. Leaders are nominated from the community and a board of community members selects the winners.
In the year that Sheila Gardiner-Watt has been volunteering with the Canadian Mental Health Association in Kelowna, she has shown a willingness to go above and beyond in tackling any job, no matter the size.
She has served as a peer mentor, cook, fundraising volunteer, and a painter in the CMHA’s ArtWorks studio.
A lifelong artist, Gardiner-Watt pursued art despite early discouragement from her family.
“My father always said that art didn’t take anyone anyplace. So in our household art was never recognized as anything significant. But getting into the arts helped me re-examine my life and gave me an outlet for joy and connection. I get a lot out of connecting with others.”
Gardiner-Watt’s desire for connection has motivated her to volunteer in a variety of ways for the CMHA, making a measurable impact on the organization.
CMHA staff say that her enthusiasm, friendly smile, and genuine care for the well being of the people around her are plainly evident in her volunteer work.
“Sheila is filled with enthusiasm, a friendly smile, and a genuine care for the well-being of people,” the CMHA noted. “She has shown remarkable strength and resilience, and in the year that we’ve known her, she’s made a difference in many lives.”
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