You have to have a reason to get up in the morning – for Sandra Pilote, it’s the kids.
Sandra has been living in the Beauséjour community for the last 34 years and has been a member of the Tenant Circle since 1995.
A small but dedicated team of volunteers lead the Tenant Circle and are the driving force behind the community’s annual Christmas Party, Movies in the Park and work on with Lowertown Our Home, a community house run by the Lowertown Community Resource Centre that offers programs that benefit the residents.
It’s a diverse community. But I can walk through Beausoleil and Beauséjour and have so many people say hi to me.
Sandra recalled a time a few years ago when she was honoured with a gift from the Muslim community during an Eid Mubarak celebration at York Public School.
They were talking about this lady who was like a grandma to everyone, and I was wondering who they were talking about. Then they gave me a beautiful vase. I was so honoured, Sandra said.
The local celebration wasn’t the only time Sandra has been honoured. In 2005, she received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award, then an Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association Tenant Achievement Award in 2007, followed by being named a United Way Community Builder in 2011. Her most recent award, the Governor General Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, was presented to Sandra earlier this year.
“I was very surprised and proud to learn I had received the medal,” Sandra said, adding she now signs all her emails as a Sovereign Medal recipient.
Her advice to others looking to get involved in their community, is to start by calling OCH and asking to get involved with their local Tenant Circle.
A lot of people have to have a reason to volunteer. For me it is the children, but for others, it could be different. Planning events is a chance to spoil the children.