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The Winners of the 40th Annual Volunteer Awards Unveiled!

On Wednesday night, Volunteer Manitoba celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Volunteer Awards by honoring some of the most dedicated volunteers in Manitoba.

On Wednesday night, Volunteer Manitoba celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Volunteer Awards by honoring some of the most dedicated volunteers in Manitoba. The event, which was presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, recognized individuals and groups who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to improving their communities.


One of the night's big winners was Karen Clark, who won the Lieutenant Governor's Community Leadership Award. Karen was nominated by the Mentoring Artists of Women’s Art (MAWA) group, which recognized her tireless efforts in building community organizations in Flin Flon, Manitoba.


Karen, who lives in Flin Flon, spoke about her surprise at receiving the award. "I have never before been nominated for a volunteer award," she said. "When I got the call from the Lieutenant Governor's office, I was shocked. The first thing you wonder is if someone is pulling your leg. But then when realization kicks in, you realize this is a big deal and I’m really honored to be singled out in this way."


Karen's work with the Northern Visual Arts Center in Flin Flon has helped connect people and convince them of the value of the visual arts. "In 2010, a group of artists in Flin Flon got together and recognized there was a need for visual arts. It seemed that the performing arts were always working all by themselves in some corner, so we strived to connect people and convince people that they might value that connection, which is what the group of us started to do. This led into mentorship and learning," she said.


The group also runs a retreat that costs $180, which includes a place to stay, meals, and the opportunity to connect with a partner who shares a passion for the visual arts from around Manitoba.


Karen's tireless efforts in building these community organizations proved her worthy of receiving the award. "The thing I really appreciate about this award is when you read on the website it talks about identifying a need in your community, and then mobilizing a group of people who feel this is something they want to take on. When I read that, I thought ‘Yes! I feel good about that'," she said.


Phillip Dunphy, Board President of Volunteer Manitoba, praised the award winners' commitment and passion. "For over four decades, Volunteer Manitoba has had the privilege to champion celebrating ‘heroes’ in our province. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary, we honor this years' award winner's commitment and passion. Congratulations to all the dedicated and engaged recipients and nominees," he said.


Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, the presenting sponsor of the event, was also thrilled to be a part of the celebration. "Volunteer Manitoba is thrilled to have partnered with Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries on this event for the past 29 years. As the presenting sponsor, the corporation is committed to recognizing selfless individuals who embody the true essence of community spirit. The MBLL Community Changemaker Award recognizes group volunteer efforts, highlighting an outstanding community group that has dedicated their time and resources to giving back to Manitoba," the organization said in a statement.


The Volunteer Awards have been a fixture in Manitoba for 40 years, and they continue to be an important way to recognize the hard work and dedication of volunteers across the province. This year's winners are a testament to the power of volunteerism and the positive impact it can have on communities. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you for your service!


~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen.  The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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