Guelph, Ont., February 7, 2024 – Mayor Cam Guthrie will present the 2023 Mayor’s Awards to five exceptional local volunteers tomorrow morning as part of the 2024 State of the City Address event.
“I am thrilled to bring back the Mayor’s Awards after a three-year hiatus and honour these citizens’ inspirational contributions to the Guelph community,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie. “The Mayor’s Awards recipients truly make Guelph a better place through their volunteer service.”
The 2023 honourees are:
- Mike Darmon, who is most well known for his volunteer service with the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation (GCAT). Through his service with GCAT, Mike is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the quantity, quality and safety of active transportation in Guelph. Mike spends countless hours researching active transportation issues, developing proposed infrastructure solutions, building the City’s community of active transportation users, and liaising with City Staff, Council and other stakeholders. Mike also volunteers his time to build the outdoor ice-skating rink in Riverside Park.
- Narine Dat Sookram, who volunteers his time to mentor Guelph citizens to achieve their career and academic goals, including teaching mathematics. He helps Guelphites craft resumes and cover letters and prepare for job interviews. From 2002 to 2012, Narine also drove community members, who had no personal transportation, to their workplaces. During the pandemic, Narine, who is a registered social worker, volunteered his time to provide mental health counselling for Guelphites and continues to make himself available as needed.
- Jim Hoare, who spent many years volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington as crew lead and helping with numerous kitchen salvages. Jim also helped design, plan and build the Cove Valley Bridge as a volunteer with the Guelph Hiking Trail Club in addition to helping with ongoing trail maintenance on the Radial Line Trail for the last 20 years. Jim also volunteers with the Guelph Little Theatre to design and build sets.
- Shannon Ostetto, who has been volunteering with Hope House and their event, Hope in the Street, for the past five years. She’s been the Chairperson of the event since 2019, successfully pivoting the event to an online format in 2020 and bringing it back to an in-person event following the pandemic. Shannon has helped fundraise tens of thousands of dollars for food programs, community services and health programs.
- Dhruv Shah, who has been volunteering with various Guelph community and non-profit organizations since 2016. During the pandemic, Dhruv volunteered to raise funds for Guelph General Hospital and Guelph Food Bank. Dhruv also volunteered with the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington to support the school nutrition program, the Hindu Society of Guelph, Sunday Table, The Guelph & District Multicultural Festival, and Hope House. Dhruv was recently appointed to the Hope House Board of Directors and continues to volunteer at Hope House Food Market.
The Mayor’s Awards have been presented since 1997, when they were established by Mayor Joe Young, with a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. Honourees have been recognized for volunteer contributions to many different aspects of city life, including arts and culture, health and mental health, community building, athletics, active transportation and the environment.
Patricia Halajski, Mayor’s Communications Advisor
519-822-1260 extension 2558