You could almost smell salt air coming from the Speaker’s Salon in Centre Block of Parliament Hill on Wednesday as supporters of Citizen Advocacy got together for a hot bowl of chowder and to promote the upcoming Evening in the Maritimes.
The 23rd annual East Coast-themed gala is taking place Thursday, June 1, at the Hilton Lac-Leamy. It’s the signature fundraiser for Citizen Advocacy, a local non-profit organization that’s been helping people with disabilities in our region for the past 43 years.
The money raised from the $175-a-ticket evening will support the organization’s Everyday Champions program. It involves ordinary citizens giving freely of their time to become friends with people with disabilities, in order to provide companionship and emotional support. The program helps people with disabilities feel more included in the community and reportedly leads to improved self esteem and greater overall health. Everyday Champions currently has more than 250 volunteer advocates but is always looking for more.
At the Chow Down for Charity Luncheon were Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan, who hails from Nova Scotia. Senator Jim Munson, who’s a native of New Brunswick and a long-time Citizen Advocacy supporter, attended. So did Mayor Jim Watson. Also seen were members of the business community, including Michael Leo from presenting sponsor Lundbeck; Frank Bilodeau, district vice president of Scotiabank; and David Rodier from Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
David Cork, director and wealth manager at ScotiaMcLeod, is the gala’s returning honourary co-chair with Sen. Vern White. Cork recently took his commitment up a level by getting involved with Everyday Champions. He now hangs out regularly with Citizen Advocacy client Ian Murph
“I wanted to further immerse myself in the amazing work for Citizen Advocacy,” Cork told the room, with Murphy standing alongside him. “It’s been a thrill for me."
The room also heard from Citizen Advocacy volunteer Peter Whelan, manager of country risk assessment for Export Development Canada, and his match of eight years, Dylan Sawyer. They talked about some of the activities they do together, such as attending the monthly Dovercourt dance, an annual Christmas party, as well as more frequent outings. Particularly special for Sawyer, who’s in a wheelchair, was being able to take the city bus from one end of the city to the other during a lunch date with Whelan.