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Next week is National Volunteer Week – a time to recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers. Here at The Ottawa Mission, we simply could not help as many people in need without the dedicated support of our compassionate army of volunteers. Every month, close to 250 people fill a volunteer role at the shelter. From preparing and serving meals to organizing clothing donations and running bingo nights, volunteers do so much to help people in need.

Lyn Ward is just one shining example.

During five years of volunteering at The Ottawa Mission, Lyn has turned her hand and her heart to many different activities such as movie nights at the shelter and helping in the clothing room. But if you ask Lyn about her true passion as a volunteer, it’s all about education.

As a volunteer teaching assistant at The Mission’s Stepping Stones Learning Centre, Lyn has worked with men and women who are trying to improve their lives – and their job prospects – by completing their high school education or taking other supplemental courses. Many of the people she helps have been out of school for years, but she has witnessed how hard they work, and the way they are transformed during the process.

Lyn is also a classroom administrator for Discovery University, a partnership program between The Ottawa Mission, the University of Ottawa, St. Paul University and First Baptist Church. Discovery U gives low-income and homeless people the opportunity to take non-credit courses taught by professors in a university environment. Lyn sits in on every class to make sure everything runs smoothly and, from her perspective, it is a joy to see people learning, sharing ideas, growing in self-confidence, and opening themselves up to new possibilities.

So, Lyn will say that her volunteer work – particularly at Stepping Stones and Discovery U – is a total pleasure. We say that it is people like Lyn, who give so generously of their time and talents, who make all the difference in changing lives for the better.

Thank you Lyn, and everyone else who is part of our special “army”, for all that you do.

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