May 30, 2023
On May 3, 2023, Edward Lau, an Ontario Region Transportation Security Inspector and an active member of Transport Canada’s National Advisory Committee for Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, and his wife Michelle, were awarded the Jim Turner Memorial Award for Outstanding Voluntarism from Community Living Toronto.
Community Living Toronto is a non-profit organization that fosters inclusive communities by supporting the rights and choices of people with an intellectual disability. Since 1948, the organization has been offering a wide range of services in support of people with an intellectual disability, and their families. Jim Turner, for whom this award is named, was a former President of the Board of Directors of Community Living Toronto and was one of organization’s strongest leaders, advocates, and friends.
Each year, Community Living Toronto holds a "Leaders in Philanthropy" event to presents awards in recognition of volunteers who support the work of the organization and have made an outstanding contribution that has affected the lives of the individuals they support and their families.
The Jim Turner Memorial Award for Outstanding Voluntarism is given to those who give back to their community with the precious gift of their time. This may be done through direct service, contribution on Community Living Toronto’s committees or other activities/events.
In the case of Edward and Michelle, they were recognized for their desire to give back and help a cause that they feel strongly about and have demonstrated their commitment to over the years. Edward began volunteering for Community Living Toronto in 2010 and joined the Board of Directors in 2013. Together, he and Michelle support many Developmental Sector initiatives, both as donors and volunteers. They are huge advocates for all people with disabilities, driven by their own family member, who has inspired them to do more.
Among the many volunteer activities across various organizations far beyond just Community Living Toronto that Edward and Michelle have been involved in, they were also nominated for the work that they have done at their ME & Lau Family Foundation. Through this foundation, Edward and Michelle raise funds to support charitable organizations that provide services to people with intellectual disabilities, and the sector, in the Greater Toronto Area. Their foundation has funded and organized many outstanding initiatives such as a scholarship program, an income tax filing clinic for people with low incomes and families of people with intellectual disabilities, as well as their music concert for people with intellectual disabilities Learn more about Edward and Michelle’s foundation.
Michelle and Edward are inspired to be part of the Community Living Toronto team, fighting for inclusion, and feeling a sense of belonging; knowing that they are making a difference. For them belonging is "being treasured, being part of the team, being part of the organization and being recognized for what you have done no matter how big or small." They note that "the concept of inclusion is important for our sector and people of all abilities, their voices and opinions are important. Planning is important, when done collectively and everyone gets involved."
Community Living Toronto’s vision is: A society where everyone belongs. A society where everyone is valued. Edward and Michelle’s actions have embodied this vision through their commitment to using whatever resources are available to them to make people’s life better.
Congratulations on your award Edward & Michelle!
(Source: Transport Canada Ontario Region Article - People Stories. May 30, 2023 - RDIMS#19523849)