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University volunteers recognized for community contributions

Awards recognize volunteer contributions of U of G faculty, staff and students to community organizations
Award Winners



University of Guelph’s Assistant Professor Dr. Daniel Gillis, staff member Paul Mesman and student Yousr El Sharawy are the recipients of this year’s Dr. William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Involvement Awards.

Presented by Dr. Winegard at a ceremony on Wednesday, the awards recognize the volunteer contributions of University of Guelph faculty, staff and students to community organizations in Guelph and Wellington County.

“Our three recipients have shown how volunteers can turn their passions into lasting contributions benefitting people and organizations in our community,” said Christine Oldfield, executive director of the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington.

Dr. Gillis is passionate about food security and has dedicated much of his free time to leading projects and initiatives that support this goal.  He co-founded Farm To Fork, an initiative that serves to improve the quality and quantity of food donated to emergency food systems by facilitating dialogue between donors and emergency food providers.

Dr. Gillis is also a founding contributor to The Seed Community Food Hub, a group that works with local partners to bring people together to access, grow, cook and share healthy food.

Paul has volunteered with Action Read Community Literacy for the past three years, assisting learners not only work on the practical skills they need to retain their job or enter an apprenticeship program, but help them regain their self-confidence and self-esteem.  Paul’s work ethic and ability to connect with his learners has enabled clients to be successful in reaching their goals. 

Yousr’s unique background encouraged her to get involved in activities on campus and in our community, to discover more about Canadian culture and form personal networks. 

Utilizing her ability to communicate in Arabic, Yousr volunteers in a private Syrian Refugees Sponsorship program in Guelph, is the co-founder of the Migrant Justice initiative on campus and volunteers at the Guelph Refugees Forum. 

“Dr. Gillis, Paul and Yousr are dedicated volunteers recognized today for their tremendous community spirit,” said Ken Dardano, executive director of United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin. “United Way is pleased to partner with the Volunteer Centre and the University of Guelph to present these outstanding volunteers with this year’s Winegard Awards.”