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by Sharon Godwin, Communications Advisor
Taylor Award Ceremony April 23rd, 2010
On April 23rd, I had the opportunity to attend the Taylor Award ceremony, in Springbrook Alberta, where we celebrated the recipient: Mrs. Susan Hall.
The Taylor Award was established in 2001 - the International Year of Volunteers. It is presented annually by CSC and the National Volunteer Association to an outstanding CSC volunteer who has shown exceptional dedication to the Service.
Mrs. Hall was accompanied by her proud husband, family and friends. When accepting her award, she spoke about how she came across the Christopher Leadership Program and felt a passion to teach it to others. She has been teaching the program to inmates for over 18 years.
Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament, Red Deer, with 2009 Taylor Award Recipient, Susan Hall
The Christopher Leadership Program reminded me a lot of the Dale Carnegie Program where public speaking is the fundamental tool to help participants express themselves while increasing confidence and self-esteem.
The impact on inmates has been extraordinary. Three inmates had the courage to share their stories with us. Each of them mentioned that prior to taking the course they would have never dreamed of speaking in front of a crowd on any subject, let alone speaking about their personal journeys. They expressed their appreciation for Susanís work and dedication. They spoke from the heart.
The inmates' stories were emotional and powerful testaments to the differences volunteers can make in the lives of offenders just by lending their confidence and support. Susan took the time to listen honestly and unconditionally to the program participants and to encourage them to express themselves.
For many, participating in the program was their first opportunity to let their guard down, face their fears and show their true feelings.
From left to right: Elizabeth Van Allen, Assistant Commissioner, Public Affairs and Parliamentary Relations, Susan Hall, 2009 Taylor Award Recipient, Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament, Red Deer, and Brenda LePage, Regional Deputy Commissioner, Prairie Region
Volunteers help reconnect inmates with the outside world and gain a sense of normalcy. Many inmates come from challenging backgrounds and have difficulty understanding what "normal" means. It is thanks to volunteers like Susan Hall a woman who cares deeply about their progress that reintegration programs are a success.