Due to the online nature of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa Annual General Meeting, the community award recipients were unable to make acceptance speeches. Here are the remarks of Sharon and David Appotive, recipients of the Shem Tov Community Volunteer Award.
Thank you for honouring us with the Shem Tov Award. We are truly proud of this honour.
Looking back, it is hard to fathom that the two of us have been volunteering in our community for over 25 years. It seems like yesterday when we first became involved. ORT and Young Women’s Leadership Council was the starting block for Sharon as AZA Fraternity was for David. In Sharon’s words, “I saw the impact of how my family benefitted from the support of our community and saw the importance of giving back.”
We strongly believe in the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “It is important to do things outside yourself. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what a meaningful life is – living not for oneself, but one’s community.”
In our view, there are two paths in the world of volunteering. The first path is the one that takes you to becoming a volunteer. For us, this path was paved by those who came before us. We remember our parents and the community leaders, both past and present, who set the example and inspired us by what they did – selflessly and without need for recognition. One only has to look around at our great community, its facilities, and its programs, to see the magnitude of these peoples’ contributions. None of this would have been possible without volunteers. Volunteers are the fuel that drives our community.
The second path requires some personal initiative to seek out those volunteer opportunities that inspire you. You may start with baby steps by getting involved. Maybe it’s joining a committee or a board. Maybe it’s making phone calls or deliveries. Maybe it’s starting a fundraiser. Sometimes it even helps to ask friends or family to join you.
Looking back, our only regret is that we didn’t start earlier. We can tell you with certainty that in volunteering, you reap much more than what you sow. Whether it be your time, expertise, experience and, yes, even dollars, it is what you do with what you have that gives you the greatest feeling of satisfaction.
We are very proud to be part of the Ottawa Jewish community. During these uncertain COVID times, Jewish Ottawa Helps showcases how over 1,200 volunteers have come together to help those in need.
We will continue to work together with you to make our community inclusive and responsive, so as to ensure that we will be able to continue providing the many and various programs and support that will and allow the Ottawa Jewish community to thrive from generation to generation.