Every year Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium has the honor of presenting community volunteers and builders with their Paul Harris Fellow Award. These recipients embody Rotary’s value of “service above self” by giving back to their communities through multiple avenues. Their kindness, compassion, wisdom and tenacity come through in their work, volunteerism and life. Here is a list of Paul Harris Fellow Award Recipients from this week.
Aaron Farrell: has tirelessly worked on humanitarian causes for over 25 years.  His goal is always to help lift people and communities out of poverty. Aaron’s projects have led him (and encouraged others) to build Schools in underserved communities and support Women’s Shelters. His international projects have touched many countries including India, Kenya, Uganda and Mexico to name a few. Closer to home Aaron is involved in Socks 4 Souls that provides socks for the homeless.
Dana Nuttley leads, supports and has grown organizations such as Shelldale Family Gateway. Through his community activism, Dana to worked with numerous outreach programs and agencies in the Guelph and surrounding areas. Dana’s purpose and focus has been on elevating poverty, advocating for marginalized communities as well as helping community members impacted by homelessness and addition issues. Dana has also been a strong ally and advocate for supporting indigenous communities.
Jan Craig is a positive, kind and tenacious change agent and community builder. It’s not only about the projects Jan volunteers in but also how Jan works to make Guelph a better place. She has served on numerous boards - Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington, Heart and Stroke, United Way and  is a leader in social justice issues. Jan has also supported to newcomers to Guelph, helping them make appointments and navigate rebuilding their lives and opportunities in our community.
John Dennis is a cofounder of the Guelph Tool Library. The GTL provides a low-cost option for members to access over 1000+ tools for construction, cooking, and garden projects.  Through the GTL, John has worked to launch projects such as: Repair Cafe Guelph, a free bimonthly fixing event; Good Call Program, that has repaired and returned over 100 cell phones to the community; and the Urban Sugaring Project. At the start of the pandemic, John started the Kitchen Bees at the Church of the Apostles. This volunteer run program will provide over 7500 meals this year to emergency food providers in Guelph. John’s creative energy continues this spring with the launch of “Free to Read”, a program to coincide with World Literacy Day April 23, 2022.  The program will collect 1000 comic books, graphic novels and paperbacks for local Provincial Correctional Institutes literacy programs.
Linda Busuttil’s family experience as immigrants to Canada has led to a lifelong support of newcomers to the Guelph area. She helps give new arrivals a voice while they navigate various health and education systems. Linda also helps to address inequality, inclusion and access issues within her community by volunteering with the West Village Coop’s after school, youth and food support programs. She also fits into her packed schedule Adopt A Family, toy collection, food drives with schools and neighbours, her  food support program & pilot hub as well as work with the Guelph Food Bank.
Ray Stultz helps local entrepreneurs at BDC and volunteers extensively in our community. Ray is a past volunteer with the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington, KidsAbility and Victim Services Wellington. As an avid volleyball player Ray volunteered as a coach and treasurer for many years with the Guelph Grizzlies Volleyball Club. Currently Ray is focusing on helping youth community members struggling with mental health issues by volunteering with The Grove Hubs – Youth Wellness. Ray was also just appointed to the board of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce.
Shirley Hunt is an advocate for the environment and the health benefits that come from spending time in nature. Seeing the impact of our sedentary, indoor lives on community members of all ages, Shirley collaborated with local photographers, artists and educators to develop a school-based arts program called Focus on Nature to inspire young people to connect with nature through digital photography. Shirley was also the co-founder, first Executive Director, and Chair of an amazing non-profit charitable organization called Up and Running Guelph, which works to improve the mental health and well-being of women through inclusive, nature-based walking and running programs.
Stephanie Riley is a community driver who regularly raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society through fundraisers such as Chairing the Hope AND the City Gala. She is also one of the past Co-Chairs for the Royal LePage Royal City National Garage Sale for Shelter Foundation. During covid, Stephanie collected hygiene kits for the local Shelter and Chemo Care Kits for the Guelph General Hospital that her 9-year-old son helped to assemble.  Stephanie personifies our Club’s mantra of a “mile wide and inch deep”  as she can be counted on to participate in holiday adopt-a-family hampers, food drives and many other community initiatives.
Sya Van Geest is an incredibly active volunteer at Dublin Street United Church. She supports many of her churches amazing activities such as their work with the  LGBTQ + communities, climate change committee and the annual Dublin’s Christmas Dinner. In addition to these many activities, Sya supports the Guelph GoGo Grandmothers for Africa and is an active member/volunteer with the Guelph Storyteller’s Guild and Guelph Chamber Choir.
Mary Anne Allain regularly and quietly makes a difference in her community. Mary Anne volunteers with  Community of Hearts Box of Hearts Program. Her work supports adults with developmental exceptionalities to achieve the level of independence they desire. The Box of Hearts program is a social enterprise that brings adults together to develop job training skills by baking and packaging dog cookies as well as chocolate covered licorice to sell in the community. In addition to this work, Mary Anne is a regular volunteers at Food 4 Kids Guelph and the Guelph Clothing Closet where she is a valuable resource in their programming.
All of our recipients make the world and their communities a better and kinder place. Congratulations to all of Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium Paul Harris Fellow Award Recipients – we are so grateful to have such incredible community leaders.