Stella Wizniak, Our Dedicated Volunteer Receives the Yvan Baker Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service

We are very excited to share with you that Stella Wizniak, our long-time dedicated volunteer received the Yvan Baker Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service for Seniors, at the Ivan Baker Annual New Year’s Levee and Community Recognition Award.

“We congratulate Stella for this well-deserved recognition. Her commitment to our organization is truly exceptional. Stella’s dedication to the cause of seniors and her ability to nurture a warm sense of home and community in everything she does deeply touches everyone around her,” shares Irena Dounets, Executive Director.

It was over 30 years ago, when Stella and her mother, Cassie Boyachuk, participated in the first charitable Walkathon, organized by the St. Demetrius Church, aimed at raising funds for the building of an ethnic Ukrainian Home for Seniors, i.e., what today is the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre.

Stella shares, “Our goal was to create a home where our parents could truly feel at home, with the food, celebrations, and environment reflecting our culture and heritage, and where they could live in the traditions in which they were brought up.”

Stella put all her heart into helping to make this dream a reality. She participated in the organization and execution of all fundraising events, organized by the St. Demetrius Church and the St. Demetrius Women’s League. She greatly valued the importance of fundraising and she does so until today. “When funds are needed to do good, you just get together with others, you donate, raise funds, and volunteer, and do what is needed to meet this need. You don’t wait. You don’t wait to help. You help when the need is there,” she says.

It was 27 years after this first Marathon, when Stella walked again to help the Care Centre, this time with her granddaughter Mikayla. This happened during the most challenging time in the history of the Care Centre – the Covid-19 pandemic. By this time, her connection to the Care Centre had become deeply personal. Who would tell, that after so many years, it won’t be her Mom being a resident of the Care Centre, but her beloved husband Albert. Who would tell that by coming back to the Care Centre, Stella would also start meeting more and more of her friends from the church. Some had already become residents, like her husband, while others, like her, were there because their loved ones were residents.

“Time flows fast, the Care Centre now is home to my generation, and tomorrow it will be the next generation. I want the Care Centre to be there for all seniors who need it, for many, many years to come. It is a place, which has an immense value in the lives of many seniors. It is truly their last home. It was my husband’s last home, and I am grateful for all the care he received. Anytime I come to the Care Centre, I feel happy that the dream that so many of us shared many years ago is now a reality,  and I want to continue to be part of this reality just as much as I wanted to be part of the dream, many years ago.” shares Stella.

“Stella is a cornerstone—reliable, resourceful, and a beacon of love for people. She warmly welcomes everyone, providing assistance wherever possible. Her presence is both comforting and uplifting, making it easy for anyone to find a friend in her. Loved by staff, residents, and volunteers alike, Stella brings her sunshine to every activity, be it Yard Sale, Bingo, Gift Shop, or Sunday Liturgy, making everyone’s life brighter,” says Anna Do, Director of Development and Community Engagement.

Stella dedicates four days a week to the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre,. You can see her Thursday in the Gift shop, welcoming everyone with a warm smile, Tuesday and Saturday for Bingo, and on Sunday she porters residents to the Chapel for the Sunday liturgy. She also takes part in the organization and delivery of all of our community events, Yard Sale in June, Christmas Bazaar and other special events for our residents at the Care Centre. And she continues to involve her family members as well, like her son Darrell, who spent countless hours organizing all the items we received for the Yard Sale last year. In addition to all of these activities, that Stella is involved in, Stella would pop up in the Care Centre to visit residents. You can often see her sitting together with residents, talking with them or pushing their wheelchair taking them for a walk.

“It gives me joy to be among people. I love talking with the residents and spending time with them. I like taking them out for a little walk when the weather is nice or just walking around the Care Centre. I like it that when I come to the Care Centre and I say hello to them, they greet me with a big smile, they are happy to see me and this makes me happy too. I have old friends here and I made new friends as well. Everyone is a friend here,” says Stella with a smile.

“Stella is one of the many members of our Ukrainian Canadian community for whom community is like family. They are loyal and committed. Their bonds with each other are strong and enduring. Stella’s outstanding dedication to the Care Centre is a source of inspiration for all of us who work here, as we stay committed to sustaining the unique community and family feel of our Home for Seniors and carry forward the legacy of our strong community values,” says Irena Dounets, Executive Director.

Thank you, Stella, for your selfless work and for nurturing a warm sense of community and family in all of us!

Share this

Donate Now and Make an Impact!