Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award returns for 2010

Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA) invite Albertans to help recognize the province’s remarkable volunteer spirit with the sixth annual Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award.

Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA) invite Albertans to help recognize the province’s remarkable volunteer spirit with the sixth annual Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award.

The contest runs through National Volunteer Week (April 18 to 24) and nominations close May 7.

According to Volunteer Alberta, 52 per cent of Albertans volunteered in 2007, at an average of 172 hours per person. The program is designed to recognize the significant efforts of these individuals whose contributions make their communities a better place to live.

“Each year we support the program, we’re amazed at the number of heart-warming stories we receive about Albertans and their spirit of generosity,” says Tanis Kozak, vice-president and general manager for Direct Energy in Canada. “We all know someone in our local community who goes out of his or her way to improve the life of fellow citizens — it’s this contribution, often unrecognized, that expresses the true spirit of volunteerism in action.”

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is an extension of an existing Direct Energy program that encourages company employees to volunteer their time and energy to a cause or an organization in their local community.

The award itself consists of:

• $1,000 cash prize to the winner;

• $5,000 cash grant to the winner’s organization/cause of choice in their respective community;

• recognition of the winner’s achievement through a commemorative award, article and photo to be published in AWNA newspapers across Alberta;

• $1,000 cash grant to four semi-finalists’ organization/cause of choice in their respective communities; and

• special recognition of the four semi-finalists.

Last year’s winner, Robbie Knight, chose the Consort Hospital Auxiliary Society as the beneficiary of her $5,000; and in the true spirit of altruism, she opted to donate her $1,000 cash award to the Terry Fox Foundation.

“We’re looking forward to once again recognizing individuals who work hard to make our communities great places to live,” said AWNA President George Brown, editor of the Ponoka News. “The selfless actions of past winners like Robbie and many of the other nominees often go unrewarded.

“This program is designed to showcase appreciation for their efforts. I invite AWNA member newspaper publishers and editors and community leaders to nominate their outstanding volunteers. The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is a great opportunity to recognize invaluable volunteers and to benefit your community.”

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is open to residents who reside within a community served by an AWNA member newspaper. Applicants can either self-nominate or be nominated by another individual or group. Nominations should be no longer than 750 words in length and detail the specific contribution the individual or group has made to the local community through improving the quality of life for fellow citizens. The nominations also need to profile the designated organization and how that organization would use the $5,000 donation.

Nominations must be submitted to the AWNA by May 7. A selection committee, formed of two representatives from the AWNA and two appointed by Direct Energy, will review award applications and select the finalists and winning individual or group.

Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award rules and details can be found online at www.awna.com or www.directenergy.com/vcoy, or they can be picked up at the Ponoka News office.