Ontario Shores Staff Member Awarded for Excellence in Volunteer Administration

April 06, 2011
Liz Onley-Wiseman, Manager of Volunteer Services at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) received the 2011 Maralyn MacKenzie Achievement Award for Excellence in Volunteer Resource Management.

Liz Onley-Wisemn poses with staff and volunteers
Liz Onley-Wiseman (middle) poses with Kelly Braun, OSSEP instructor (left) and volunteers who assist with tutoring patients enrolled in OSSEP.
The award recognizes a Durham Region Association for Volunteer Administration (DRAVA) agency member that has demonstrated professionalism and excellence in the administration of volunteer resources within the community.

Onley-Wiseman has been Manager of Volunteer Services at Ontario Shores for almost five years, and during her time with the organization has been instrumental in supporting the development and facilitation of many programs and services for individuals with mental illness. Under her leadership, volunteers donated more than 10,000 hours of service to Ontario Shores in 2010.

“It is truly an honour to receive this award from my peers,” says Onley-Wiseman. “Over the last five years, I have witnessed the impact volunteers have had on patients and the special bond they share on their road to recovery. I am particularly proud of the significant role volunteers have played in tutoring patients registered in the Ontario Shores Supported Education Program (OSSEP) under the guidance of staff in Vocational Services.”

OSSEP was identified in Onley-Wiseman’s award nomination and is a unique program that provides individuals, 21 years of age and older, with an opportunity to further their education while receiving treatment for mental illness. Ontario Shores staff and volunteers help inpatients and outpatients improve literacy, numeracy and vocational skills, to assist with their transition into the community. The program works in collaboration with the Durham District School Board to develop curriculums, course material and an evaluation process.

“We were very inspired by the OSSEP team’s commitment toward aiding the participants in conquering their educational barriers,” says Tracy Fardy, Community Participation Consultant and Special Events Coordinator, Ontario Works and Treasurer, DRAVA. “With young, educated volunteers serving as role models and offering one-on-one learning, it’s a win-win situation for all.”

The success of OSSEP has been remarkable as course registration has increased significantly over the past four years from six students to 60 with a growing waiting list. However, Onley-Wiseman sees beyond the statistics. She sees how education can give meaning, purpose, self-esteem and a sense of hope to individuals suffering from mental illness.

“Volunteer tutors are known for their patience, adaptability, consistency, and encouraging approach,” adds Onley-Wiseman. “Each volunteer is making a difference in these students’ lives by giving their time and expertise. I am grateful for the dedication and support from volunteers and vocational instructors, and I look forward to expanding this program to include more patients as they take this courageous step in their recovery.”

“We are so proud that Liz has been recognized for her remarkable work with our Volunteer Services program,” says Glenna Raymond, President and CEO, Ontario Shores. “Her dedication to enhancing and expanding patient programs and services is truly outstanding. By providing our volunteers with an excellent experience, Liz has created opportunities for our patients to learn, grow and succeed while they receive treatment at Ontario Shores and as they continue their journey to recovery within the community.”

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Communications and Public Affairs
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905-430-4055 ext. 4001