Get to Know Your Community Volunteer Award Winners!

At the Ralph Thornton Community Centre’s Annual General Meeting on June 12, the following extraordinary individuals were announced as RTCC’s 2024 Community Volunteer Award winners:

Sharon Ho | RTCO Board Member | Recipient of the “Contribution to RTCC Governance and Operations” Award

Sharon Ho has lived in South Riverdale since 2008 with her family. She served as an RTCC board member from 2016 to 2020 in a variety of roles including Treasurer and as a member of all the committees. RTCC was like her second home during this time. Her child attended the After School programme and her husband is passionate about the Joy of Writing group that meets every Tuesday. Sharon is currently the secretary for the Ralph Thornton Community Organization, a charitable organization that supports RTCC.

Sharon was previously a member of the Matty Eckler Community Garden (she loves arugula and lettuce!) and previously co-chaired the school council at Riverdale Collegiate where her child is in grade 10. She’s passionate about civic engagement! 

Qin Kong | Recipient of the “Partnership with RTCC” Award

Qin Kong began collaborating on seniors programming at RTCC 5 years ago. In late 2020, a new partnership of five organizations formed to provide one-to-one phone calls to seniors isolated by the pandemic. Qin was one of the original volunteer peer workers recruited by the Wellness Line. She trained as a peer worker, supported other peers, and participated in the development and evaluation of the project.  When that project ended, Qin continued as a volunteer, running RTCC’s Wellness Line. 

RTCC focused our Wellness Line on Chinese-speaking seniors, isolated by the pandemic, and language barriers. Qin makes weekly phone calls to vulnerable seniors, checking on wellbeing, having social conversations, sharing information about government and community resources, connecting to services, and assisting them to participate in social activities. 

During the difficult time of the pandemic, she helped keep seniors connected and updated, and ensured that they weren’t left behind. 

Although her responsibility is with the Wellness Line, Qin collaborates with RTCC’s Seniors’ Group.  She has deep contacts within South Riverdale and uses them to benefit seniors with information, referrals, and direct connection to resources. 

Susan Baker | Riverdale Share | Recipient of the “Contributions to Community Development” Award

In 1991, Susan Baker took her family to the first Riverdale Share Concert and never left. As a volunteer she helped to incorporate it as a non-profit charitable organization and in 2001 became the executive director. The Riverdale Share Community Association produces an annual benefit concert for east-end charities who support families, including the Ralph Thornton Community Centre, of which she was once a board member. 

Susan organized the Greater Riverdale Street sale for 30 years, was a founding member of the Riverdale Historical Society, a Nightwood Theatre board member and an Out of the Cold volunteer. Since retiring to Toronto Island 3 years ago, she now volunteers with the Spadina Fort York Community Foodbank, fundraises for St. Andrew’s by-the-lake Church, is a member of the Island Art Committee and organizes events at her local sailing club. 

 David Walsh | Recipient of the “Contributions to Community Development” Award

David Walsh is the owner of Carrot Common, a commercial and community hub on the Danforth— home to the Big Carrot and eight other small businesses. 

His real estate firm has restored a number of historic buildings and developed innovative commercial properties, such as Carrot Common, an alternative shopping mall in Toronto which is structured to give 50% of its profits to support social justice initiatives, community enterprises and organic farming projects. 

David has had a long-time interest in social justice, social housing, and community economic development. His volunteer work has included positions as a board member of organizations such as the Learning Enrichment Foundation, Social Planning Council of Toronto, Homes First Society, the Housing Development Resource Centre, Basic Poverty Action Group, the Community Business Centre, and Home Ownership Alternatives. 

Congratulations to each of our award recipients for their selfless contributions and unwavering support of our community. We are all deeply grateful for the significant impact they’ve made!

Thank you!

Posted in Recent News.