Our Stories

St.Amant Team Members Receive Prestigious National Award for Volunteer Management Excellence

June 11, 2024

Tracy Laluk, Manager of Volunteer Services & Community Connections, and Charisse Dimacali, Co-Chair of the Management Professionals of Canada Regional Manitoba Committee, have been honoured with the prestigious President’s Award from the Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada (VMPC). This esteemed national recognition, selected by VMPC Board President Tara Gilroy Scott, highlights their outstanding contributions to volunteer management and their unwavering dedication to community service.

Tracy expressed heartfelt gratitude for the award, underscoring the collaborative journey she and Charisse embarked upon. “It is an immense honour to be recognized by VMPC. Our journey has been marked by collaboration, growth, and a commitment to excellence,” Tracy shared.

Their partnership began when Tracy, recognizing the need for revitalized volunteer engagement post-COVID, reached out to Charisse to co-chair a new regional group. This initiative was crucial in unifying volunteer efforts across Manitoba, aiming to rebuild and strengthen volunteerism in the wake of the pandemic. Through this work, they also formed a pivotal partnership with Volunteer Manitoba (VM), whose support was instrumental in their success.

Before their significant involvement with VMPC, Tracy and Charisse had faced the challenges of dwindling volunteer numbers. When the Manitoba Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA) folded, and VMPC reached out to their Manitoba members they saw an opportunity to turn the situation around. They spearheaded efforts to bring together various volunteer organizations, enabling resource sharing, collective grant applications, and mentorship for new volunteer engagers.

Their efforts evolved to support numerous initiatives, including virtual coffee and lunch socials, and mentoring sessions via Zoom. These events fostered connections among volunteer engagers and allowed experienced professionals to mentor newcomers, ensuring a continuous exchange of knowledge and support. From these Zoom connections, Volunteer Manitoba has continued facilitating meetings with like-minded individuals at their Engager Breakfasts, Breakfast Bites.

A notable event was the 2nd Annual Brew Monday, held on Blue Monday, hosted with the help of colleagues from St.Amant, Andrew Terhoch, and Bre Brown. This event focused on mental health and well-being, and saw enormous participation throughout the province, with goals to expand it across Canada next year.

Tracy emphasized, “By working together, we amplify not only professionalism, but also leadership, demonstrating that we are indeed stronger together than apart.”

The culmination of their efforts with Volunteer Manitoba was the largest volunteer recruitment fair in Manitoba, exceeding all expectations with over 2,000 attendees and 53 booths. This fair highlighted the importance of volunteerism and demonstrated the strong community interest in contributing to meaningful causes.

Tracy and Charisse’s dedication to creating a supportive and collaborative environment has significantly impacted the volunteer community. Their philosophy of “we, not I” permeates their work, fostering a culture of inclusivity and collective success.

“While this award bears our names, we acknowledge that our success is not ours alone,” Tracy emphasized. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah Van Mackelbergh and Kamillah El-Giadaa, whose tireless efforts and unwavering support have been integral to all of our achievements. We look forward to continuing our journey with VMPC RegionalMb inspired by the possibilities that lie ahead.“

They have witnessed firsthand how volunteerism can shape lives, provide career direction, and foster deep, lasting connections. Their story is one of innovation and steadfast commitment to enhancing the volunteer experience, making their recognition by VMPC truly well-deserved.

“As we reflect on this honour, we are reminded of the immense strength and resilience that define our profession. However, it is the volunteers who are the true backbone of all of our organizations. Their spirit of generosity and selflessness is the driving force behind the transformative impact we have on our community. 

These invaluable contributions, whether it’s lending a hand at events, sharing their expertise, or spreading awareness, profoundly affect everything we do each day. It is a privilege to serve alongside such dedicated individuals who share a passion for making a difference,” Tracy concluded. “Together, we will continue to create positive change and empower lives for generations to come.”

From all of us at St.Amant, congratulations to Tracy and Charisse on this well-deserved recognition. Your hard work and dedication inspire us all, and we are proud to have you as part of our team.

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