Community health centre honours resident for contribution to Old Ottawa East

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre presented an award to Carol Workun, Executive Director for the Community Activities Group. The award recognizes the positive impact of her work on the health of the community over the last seven years. PHOTO BY LUCY MORRISSEY

It was a moment marked by a huge smile from Carol Workun at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre’s Annual General Meeting on June 28. Workun, Executive Director for the Community Activities Group of Old Ottawa East, accepted the SHCHC’s Award for Excellence in Health Promotion.

In front of about 75 people – family, SHCHC staff, and current and incoming members of the Board of Directors – Workun  was recognized for her volunteer leadership in achieving greater community health in Old Ottawa East.

“[The award] honours and recognizes a community member who has made significant contributions to the health and well-being of the local community,” said David Gibson, Executive Director of the SHCHC, who has worked with Workun for seven years. “The award was set up to acknowledge business [and] community leaders, organizations that really help to promote healthy lifestyles, behaviour changes and also help to develop community infrastructure.”

Workun, 48, is married with two teen-age children and has resided  in Old Ottawa East for 17 years. When  she moved to Ottawa from the UK, she soon became a community volunteer.

“You can indulge yourself in the things that matter to you and really make a difference,” Workun said, about the benefits of volunteering.

Workun said the award was very special to her: to be acknowledged within the community and by the SHCHC, an organization that she held in high regard.

Workun played a significant role in revitalizing the Brantwood Park field house, turning it into an efficient, updated space for CAG programming. She said she was motivated by the response from program participants.

“I get to spend my days [with the CAG] making opportunities for community members to connect with each other and get to know each other better,” Workun said.  “Healthy communities know their neighbours. And I have got to know some amazing people and forge some strong partnerships, such as the partnership with SHCHC, community businesses and some inspiring volunteers who I think will be lifelong friends.”

Workun stressed the importance for young people to develop healthy habits for life. Many of her projects reflect this attitude.

Her next foreseeable project is the creation of a skateboard park for  pre-teen and older community members who could use more recreational space, a need evidenced by the creation of makeshift bike ramps in Brantwood Park.

The 14 members on the SHCHC’s volunteer Board of Directors, half of whom are from Old Ottawa East and Sandy Hill, selected Workun for the award.

“If it weren’t for citizens coming together to do some work, we all would suffer,” said Anthony Pizarro, a Board candidate, on the importance of volunteer work like Workun’s.

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