For Raffaella Toscano, community looms large in her heart.
As an active volunteer, whether it’s her time at the hospital or with Pitt Meadows Day and Canada Day celebrations, Toscano says the benefits of giving back to her community have open unlimited doors in her life.
“When I started to volunteer, I didn’t have a lot of self confidence,” says the Grade 12 Pitt Meadows student. “But from the first time I walked through the doors as a volunteer, I was welcomed with open arms. It’s made a huge difference in my life.”
Toscano’s dedication to her community has not gone unnoticed.
Penny Griffin, a career preparation and work experience teacher at PMSS, says she is astounded at the level of commitment she see’s from the honour roll student.
“What she does, the amount of time she volunteers, is not something you see in many students her age anymore,” says Griffin. “I can’t believe she has time to fit everything into her schedule.”
Come Pitt Meadows Day, Griffin and the rest of the community will get the chance to say thank you to Toscano. The tireless volunteer will be given the 2015 Lynn Papp award, handed out each year to the person in the community who gives back to their community “without the expectation of reward.”
Griffin nominated the student and is thrilled Toscano will be honoured for her efforts. The award is named after Lynn Papp, a long standing volunteer in Pitt Meadows who died suddenly in 2000.
“I was so surprised,” Toscano said of being given the award. “Our community thrives in part because of our volunteers, so it’s a tremendous honour.”
Besides her efforts at the hospital and with Pitt Meadows Day and Canada celebrations, the Grade 12 student also volunteered at the True North Blue Grass festival.
Her time at the hospital has also helped shape her future goals. While she was preparing for a career in business, the time spent watching nurses, doctors and other health practitioners helping with patients has changed her life. Business has been put on hold as Toscano prepares for a life in medicine.
Citizen of the year
An unwavering dedication to building a better community has many rewards. For Ken Joyner, one of those includes being named the 2015 Pitt Meadows citizen of the year.
The Pitt Meadows Community Foundation named Joyner this year’s recipient and will honour him at Pitt Meadows Day celebrations June 6.
Joyner is being recognized for his tireless work over the years as a volunteer with various sports organizations, as well for being an advocate for the community.
Joyner was a central figure in lobbying the newly elected provincial government in 1975 to make good on their promise to build a new school in Pitt Meadows. After working with numerous volunteers, Joyner and the community’s work paid off, as Davie Jones elementary opened in 1978.
Fundraising was also a part of Joyner’s contributions to the community. Along with his wife Thelma, the two were instrumental in the Terry Fox Run in Pitt Meadows from 1981 to 1988. The pair also canvassed for the B.C. Heart and Stroke Foundation as well as the B.C. Cancer Society.
Sports has also played a big role in Joyner’s community life. Whether it was helping shore up funds for upgrades to the north Bonson ball diamond, or his work with building youth soccer programs, Joyner and his wife have a long history in Pitt Meadows.
Joyner also served as an alderman in Pitt Meadows, and help lead in the development of numerous community initiatives, including help launch the Cottonwood BMX park, helping develop Bonson Road Park.