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April 24, 2017

Encounters with Canada Volunteers Awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Ottawa, April 24, 2017 - This morning, the Governor General of Canada, his Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to Michael White and John Shaw, two long-time Encounters with Canada (EWC) volunteers. Together, these two devoted former teachers have accumulated over 55 years of volunteering for the Ottawa-based youth citizenship and leadership program. Their unfaltering generosity and dedication is truly an incredible achievement.

I am blessed to have worked with such exceptional people as Michael and John. They have touched the lives of thousands of young Canadians over the years, which is truly remarkable. For years to come, they will serve as a model for the hundreds of volunteers who work with Encounters with Canada across the country. I wish to thank them and congratulate them both for this well-deserved award.
Linda Brunet, Director General, Encounters with Canada

Over a 20-year period, Michael White has donated 100 weeks – almost two years of his life – to EWC. Michael has dedicated his life to education and the youth of Canada – and to the betterment of his fellow man. A retired New Brunswick teacher since 2002, he began volunteering at Encounters with Canada in March 1996. He was teaching at Bathurst High School at the time. Yet, he donated several weeks each year of his free time to act as a teacher-monitor for the Encounters’ program.

John Shaw has selflessly dedicated his life to education and to the youth of Manitoba and Canada – and to the betterment of his fellow man. A retired teacher and current member of the Manitoba Department of Education, John began volunteering at EWC in 1982, the year the program started. Since then, he has been a committed, loyal and diligent volunteer for the past 35 years. Since the program opened its doors, John has been a steadfast supporter in every way – as a volunteer recruiter, teacher-monitor, Manitoba provincial volunteer president, and provincial regional coordinator. In fact, his belief in the program is so strong that he sent both his children as participants.

For 35 years, Encounters with Canada has been welcoming teens to the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre in the east-end of Ottawa. Over 107,000 youth from across the country have participated in this fully bilingual program to explore careers options, develop citizenship and leadership, and discover Canada’s cultural, historical and political institutions.

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is awarded to Canadian citizens, who have made significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community, and who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment through their dedicated volunteerism.