Recognizing client success, and the contributions of volunteers and employers, has been a staple each year at JVS Toronto’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). On September 25, JVS Toronto presented its AGM Awards to six very deserving recipients.
“Our award winners all have one thing in common,” said Jonathan Kopman, Board of Directors Chair, when introducing the 2019 awards presentation, “they made a commitment to use our services. Whether they are a client or a volunteer, we honoured them for making that commitment to better their lives and the lives of others.”
Congratulations to our 2019 AGM Award winners.
Louis Mensah – Freedman Family Award for Young Entrepreneurs
This award recognizes a young entrepreneur who has completed one of JVS Toronto’s youth entrepreneurship programs, and successfully operating a full-time or a part-time basis business.
Louis began the Youth Entrepreneurship Program when he was in the early stages of developing his photography business, Mensah Memories. Prior to the Youth Entrepreneurship Program, Louis had a passion for film and photography, but he could not afford the very expensive equipment required to launch his own business.
After receiving funding from the Youth Entrepreneurship Program, Louis was able to purchase his own photography gear to start his business. Louis was never afraid to do the work that was necessary to achieve his goals, and he worked tirelessly to break into an industry that is very tough to crack. In the first few months of launching Mensah Memories, Louis’s client list included professional athletes, entertainers, and large corporations. Louis epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit with a can-do attitude, and proves that hard work can go a long way.
Alper Barbut – Joseph Skolnik Award for New Canadians
This award recognizes a JVS Toronto newcomer client who has successfully integrated into Canadian society.
Alper’s journey to Canada began with his wife and two young children in Turkey, where it was becoming more challenging to live peacefully as a Jew. Alper began to fear for the safety of his family, and wanted his children to grow up in a community that accepted their Jewish heritage.
He learned about EMETemployment, a Jewish community employment program where he participated in workshops on interview skills, resume support, and effective job search. His counsellor was delighted to find Alper a position at a great company that matched his skills perfectly. Alper went to the interview and was offered a position that suited his skills, and has since had opportunity for growth with the company. Both Alper and his wife have secured meaningful employment with the help of JVS Toronto, and are raising their children in a safe environment.
Kyle Fedec – Betty Skolnik Award for Emerging Professionals
This award goes to a young professional new to their career with a promising future in their chosen field.
Kyle graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Arts, Criminology degree in 2017. After working abroad in Australia, he returned home with little vision of where he wanted to take his career. PEAC, an employment program for recent graduates, provided Kyle with career-focused supports, including an assessment of his traits and abilities as well as his values and interests. From the day he entered JVS Toronto, Kyle stood out as professional, engaged, and made a thoughtful effort to attend all program workshops and events.
After the workshops were complete, Kyle continued to work with a mentor to push harder and deeper to fulfill the goals he set for himself in the program. Kyle is now happily employed in his field of choice, and excited about his future career direction
Shinkay Karimi – Berger Family Inspirational Award
This award recognizes the achievements, personal perseverance, and contribution a JVS Toronto client with a disability has made to the community.
Shinkay came to JVS Toronto’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Job Readiness program while she was in the process of finishing her Bachelors of Science in Mental Health studies from the University of Toronto. Shinkay required support to help manage her diagnoses in the workplace, as well as additional personal barriers, including anxiety.
Shinkay identified realistic job goals that aligned with her longer term career goals and eventually secured a full- time position as a Peer Support Specialist at a well-known mental health service agency. Not only has Shinkay overcome her own challenges with self-esteem, communication, and image, but she is now proudly supporting others who are experiencing similar barriers and supporting them to achieving their overall goals.
HotHouse Restaurant – Eunice & David Mouckley Employer of the Year Award
This award recognizes a JVS Toronto employer who has worked with us for more than one year and has provided special initiatives for clients with barriers to employment, such as language, culture, disability, or lack of updated skills.
More than 20 years ago, based on an external referral from another employer, JVS Toronto was connected with HotHouse Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Curt Hospedales.
Curt was very welcoming, and interested in helping individuals with disabilities fulfill their employment related goals. Since then, HotHouse Restaurant has provided support and employment to several clients from JVS Toronto’s Disability programs. Today, there are 4 individuals working with them, one of whom has been there for over 5 years.
Nashit Kalva – Manny Mitchell Award for Excellence in Volunteerism
This award recognizes a dedicated volunteer who has demonstrated consistent commitment, dedication and reliability to both staff and clients.
Nashit has been a volunteer mentor with Canada InfoNet since 2018, and works as a sales support specialist with Oasis Made. Nashit was interested in volunteering with JVS Toronto because he wanted to make a positive impact in his community, and as an immigrant himself, he understands the unique obstacles and challenges of transitioning into the Canadian labor market.
Nashit always finds time for a potential partnership, and manages his schedule to accommodate all of his mentee needs. He approaches all relationships with positivity, and goes the extra mile to understand his mentee’s professional backgrounds and career goals so that he can customize his advice.