Volunteer of the Year, Mental Health Leaders Honoured at Peel Children’s Centre’s Celebration Day

For immediate release

Mississauga – Peel Children’s Centre (PCC) presented two awards honouring leadership in child and youth mental health at its annual Celebration Day on Tuesday, October 24. Brampton resident and business owner Michael Scott was presented with the Ron Lenyk Volunteer of the Year Award, and Angela Lawton and Donna McIlroy were jointly honoured with the Mary Neville Award for their professional contributions to the field of children’s mental health.

Volunteer of the Year: Michael Scott

Each year, more than 120 volunteers support PCC as mentors, tutors, respite providers, childcare workers, drivers, fundraising assistants and members of PCC’s Board of Directors. The Ron Lenyk Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual in recognition of their service to the children, youth and families who access PCC’s high quality mental health services. PCC dedicated its volunteer award to Peel community leader Ron Lenyk in 2008 in recognition of Ron’s contributions as a volunteer, philanthropist and advocate.

This year’s Volunteer of the Year Michael Scott first became involved with PCC in 2006 when he signed up to be a volunteer mentor. Michael had grown up without the presence of a positive male role model in his life and wanted to provide support to a young male whose childhood was similar to his own, recognizing it as an opportunity to show another young person a different and more positive path in life. Michael was matched with an 8-year-old boy who had already been involved with the police and was experiencing challenges at home and at school. Over the course of 5 years, Michael and his mentee met weekly, and with support from the boy’s family, PCC’s clinical staff and Michael, the young boy made great progress. Today, Michael’s mentee is a first year college student, pursuing his dream of working in the automotive industry. Now a busy small business owner, Michael continues to support PCC’s volunteer program by advertising volunteer opportunities to his customers at Mikey’s Bistro, a Caribbean fusion restaurant he owns and operates in Brampton, and his legacy of helping others grows with each new volunteer who signs up.

Mary Neville Award Co-Recipients: Angela Lawton & Donna McIlroy

Presented annually by PCC, the Mary Neville Award recognizes community members who have made outstanding contributions in children’s mental health services. The Mary Neville Award was created in honour of the late Mary Neville, a former Prevention Coordinator for PCC whose work particularly focused on the positive outcomes that resulted when employing prevention and early intervention treatment methods.

Mary Neville Award co-recipient Angela Lawton has worked on the frontline of child and youth mental health for more than 20 years. A Psychometrist with Infant and Child Development Services Peel (ICDSP), Angela is a founding member of the Peel Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Clinical Service Team, a regional initiative to develop a clinical service continuum for infants and children prenatally exposed to alcohol and drugs. Angela has also worked with infant development programs and respected experts in the field across Ontario’s Central Region to support the development of an evidence-based clinical service continuum that promotes early referral; early identification and intervention specific to the needs of the population; and service coordination, with an emphasis on supporting school and mental health needs. Angela’s other contributions include regularly presenting at national and international conferences about FASD and participating in FASDONE, a national collaborative network of experts working to promote positive outcomes for children and families living with FASD). Described by her colleagues as “exceptionally committed to family-centred, evidence-based practice”, Angela continues to empower families, her colleagues and the Peel community to pioneer innovative ways to help young children with prenatal substance exposure and their families.

Mary Neville Award co-recipient Donna McIlroy has dedicated her career to helping children, youth and families, first on the frontlines of Peel Children’s Aid and later a supervisor and manager of clinical services at PCC. Donna was nominated for the Mary Neville Award in recognition of her exemplary contributions to the Peel Inclusion Resource Services (PIRS) program. Co-created by six community partners, the PIRS model builds capacity for special needs resourcing in licensed childcare by helping to identify children who need support, and streamlining the referral process for parents and childcare providers. Since the program’s inception in 2014, Donna’s leadership on the PIRS Steering Committee and her tireless advocacy on behalf of the PIRS model have strengthened the capacity of childcare providers, parents and families to support the developmental and mental health needs of Peel’s youngest citizens. In 2015, PIRS was awarded the IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Bronze Award, which recognizes innovation in public service. Donna’s colleagues describe her as a “strengths finder”, a “believer in hope” and as someone who is “calm, patient, consistent and always willing to tackle any issue, no matter how big or small.” Donna continues to promote diversity, inclusion and the PIRS model in order to enrich our community’s child and youth mental health system.

“On behalf of our staff and the families we serve, thank you to Michael, Angela and Donna for their hard work and dedication to helping others,” said PCC Chief Executive Officer Humphrey Mitchell following the award presentations. “You have each greatly enriched the services and supports available to children and their families in Peel. Thank you for sharing your time and gifts with our community.”

Peel Children’s Centre is a fully accredited, not-for-profit children’s mental health agency. Since 1985, PCC has provided free and confidential mental health services to over 4,000 children, youth and their families annually. In 2015, PCC was named Lead Agency for the Region of Peel as part of Moving on Mental Health, the Provincial Government’s plan to transform child and youth mental health services in Ontario. To learn more about PCC, please visit our website, www.peelcc.org.

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Alexandra Macgregor-Amde, Communications Specialist
905-795-3500 ext. 2297

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