HG Watson & Justin Fauteux

The news is full of stories about unemployment, failing economies and dubious futures. It’s enough to make anyone feel a little pessimistic. But you won’t find any of those pessimists in these pages. Instead you will find 12 people and organizations who believe in giving back to their community. They’ve donated their time and expertise to making Waterloo Region a better place for lots of people, whether it’s kids who love books, artistic teens or the very fashionable.

The Volunteer Action Centre’s Volunteer Impact Awards, now in its eighth year, are a chance for the community to give back to the people who have put so much of themselves into their volunteer work. On April 18th — during the launch of National Volunteer Week — the 12 winners along with all the nominees will be recognized at a gala dinner reception. It’s just all of our way of saying thanks.

Turn the page for an in depth look at what makes all of this year’s winners so special.

Dave Ogram

Shining Stars: Caring Action Award
David Ogram
Out of the Cold, The Food Bank of WR, Upward Sports, LOGOS

There certainly wasn’t a shortage of people looking to nominate David Ogram for a volunteer impact award. Involved in multiple charitable organizations in the community, Ogram was put forth for the award by his church, the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Out of the Cold program.

“‘We help,’ that’s what my dad always used to say,” said Ogram when asked why he does so much volunteer work. “Someone asked him why he does it, and he just said ‘I like to help people.’”

Ogram spends every Friday night from November to mid-April helping in the kitchen at the K-W Out of the Cold program, which provides the city’s homeless with meals and a warm place to sleep. On top of that, he is a team lead for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, helping any time there is a food drive — a natural choice, given he works full time in warehousing.

In addition, Ogram is heavily involved in other programs run by his church. He helps cook meals on Thursday nights and volunteers with a sports program on Tuesday nights that gives kids a fun, safe atmosphere to learn new skills.

“I’ve been going to my church for about 30 years, it’s just something I’ve always done,” said Ogram, noting that his Christian values are very important to him. “I work in warehousing as my full-time job, that’s why I started working with the Food Bank and the Out of the Cold, I just wanted to do something more for the community.”

In his time volunteering Ogram has had many great experiences, but what he loves to see is the generosity of other people. “One of the Food Bank food drives that we did, I was at one of the stores and a woman came out and she pushed an entire cart full of food to us ” he said. “She said ‘I needed the food bank 10 years ago, I’m fine now, give this to people who need it.’ It was at least $100 worth of food. That was pretty amazing.”

“I’m just happy to be a part of so many great organizations.”

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