EAWLC Outstanding Service Award Winners

East and West Learning Connections (EAWLC) is run by volunteers.  Without their talents, commitment, and hard work,  all the programs we have offered to the public just cannot possibly come into reality.  Every year at our Annual General Meeting, our Board chooses a number of winners to receive the EAWLC Outstanding Service Awards based on time commitment, task impact, and organization involvement in the previous year.  The award does not apply to board directors, advisors, or guest speakers, even though they are also volunteers to whom we are deeply grateful for their help.  Each year there will be friends generously donating some cool items so we can give the winners as a gift.  The winners are the representatives of all EAWLC volunteers who all come to help us with a giving heart for the community.  Thank you so much, members, volunteers, and donors, for your great support and contributions! 

2024 EAWLC Outstanding Service Award winners


QingYing Meng (Ellen)


Ellen appreciates the vision and mission of EAWLC so much that she proactively does everything she could to participate, engage, and help.  She has attended numerous events of ours, and promoted them in her circle.  When She comes to an in-person event, she serves and helps around.  She took the time to write articles to post on our website in the blog to engage our audience and/or publish on a more influential platform to promote our organization.  Ellen is now the host for our Business Communication coaching program, and is working on upgrading our website.


Xi Wang (Michelle )


Michelle has a sharing heart and keeps proactively providing information that could be beneficial to the organization or other members and ideas that could lead to good projects.  She came to our Member Salon as a volunteer guest speaker, and proposed excellent projects such as trips to TSO and theatres, and monthly eating-out, etc.  She knows how to encourage colleagues, always quick in giving responses and/or a thumbs up.  Michelle helped us post event announcements on Eventbrite before she gave birth to a baby boy recently.  She spent as much time as needed to teach her successor all the details to make it an easier job as much as possible for the new volunteer.  


Qiao Chen (Rachel)


Grade 11 student Rachel is a wonderful helper for our in-person events for the public.  She showed up at almost all of them in the past year, waiting outside loyally to greet and lead the way, helping prepare food and room setting, and sometimes even playing instruments to entertain participants.  She is a talented young musician.  She and her friend practiced for months and played the piano/violin rendition of Butterfly Lovers at Don Heights Unitarian Congregation when our President was invited to give a speech there.  Their beautiful rendition of the Chinese song made the morning more meaningful an enjoyable for the diverse audience, illustrating the theme of the speech on how our organization promoted cross-cultural learning and connections in an artistic way!  Visit https://www.eawlc.org/living-with-cultural-barriers-a-speech-a-poem-and-the-eawlc to watch the speech and their performance.


Zixiao Zhu (Linda)


Grade 10 student Linda used her talent in art to make our ever first YouTube advertisement video for the Indigenous Day celebration we held in June.  Although the time frame was very tight, Linda worked hard and turned in a beautifully done video clip to run on YouTube that drew almost sixteen thousand interactions within a few days with our limited spending on the advertisement.  She helped with our exhibition at the volunteer job fair and co-organized a couple of potluck parties; everyone enjoyed the songs she played as our DJ.  Linda also helped edit video recordings of our events, and upload them onto our YouTube channel.  We are very happy to have such a calm, thoughtful and responsible young artist as our volunteer!


Prizes for 2024 winners

A lunch with our guest speaker at  Weston Road Golf & Country Club donated by Ron Kilius

A one-on-one coaching hour donated by certified life coach and WeWorkingWomen’s President Sherry Zhang (weworkingwomen.com)

A signed copy of Welcome to the Anthropocene donated by author Alice Major, Edmonton’s first poet laureate (www.alicemajor.com).

A decoration gift set donated by Annie & Michael Raines, Founders of Raines Design (https://michaelrainesinteriors.com/)


2023 EAWLC Outstanding Service Award winners

Vicky Li

Vicky cared much about our growth and volunteered to promote our events on different social media platforms in 2022.  She had an acute sense of how things could be done better and always proactively tried her best for improvement, never hesitating to share her valuable feedback and suggestions frankly.  Vicky also helped with lots of day-to-day volunteer work, from keeping track of timelines for the project team to help organize the Indigenous Day celebration and online events.


Michael Yim

Michael has always been supportive by sending encouraging messages on occasions like holidays and responding to Organization’s calls promptly.  He played an essential role in organizing our exhibition at the International Day celebration held by the York Regional Police in 2022, contributing his valuable experience in sales and marketing, donating supplies to set up our booth, and working happily with other volunteers to deliver a very successful, pleasant exhibition.


Prizes for 2023 winners

A decoration gift set donated by Annie & Michael Raines, Founders of Raines Design (https://michaelrainesinteriors.com/)

A bottle of 2016 Rebel wine donated by Jingjing  Chen, founder of ToRefine Ltd . (https://www.torefinebluwine.com)



2022 EAWLC Outstanding Service Award winners

Jovial Si

Jovial uses her language skills and literature background to assist the Organization with aspirations.  She co-hosted an in-person and two online poetry/music events with national poet laureate George Elliott Clarke that we held in collaboration with the League of Canadian Poets.  Well prepared with great commitment, Jovial’s elegant hosting manners impressed everyone at the events.  Despite her busy schedule as a freelance translater and interpreter, She volunteered to translate an article on our blog, My Reflection on Canada Day: An Immigrant’s Perspective, which triggered heated discussion among people of different heritages in Toronto.  Jovial also worked with CBC Music executive producer Kai Black and 3 other devoted EAWLC members to present indigenous history and music for the Kanata series of our Canada in Music project.


Helen Li

Helen always proactively shares her interesting knowledge and good ideas to support the Organization.  She led a mushroom hunting trip in a forest and hosted a Taste of Summer Herbs party in her backyard for members.  Helen is A frequent participant in our programs, sharing her LIFE EXPERIENCE IN DISCUSSIONS and contributing insightful thoughts as well as feedback.  She is currently working with 1coach Eleanor James to facilitate our Inter-personal Communications Coaching Hour program.


Erica Liu

Erica is a high school student who has been helping us design and update program posters.  She designs beautiful posters, but more impressively, Erica has always been on time, quick in action, and collaborated with other volunteers on the team very well.  She is a committed, very reliable young volunteer we are so proud of!


Roman Luo

Roman is a quiet doer.  He volunteered to help with the proposal writing to apply for the Indigenous Day celebration grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage and spent an intense week, day and night, researching, proposing, and writing a big portion of the application.  The hard work won our ever first government grant.  He and his wife, Rose, also worked diligently for the in-person celebration, from helping buy supplies, and dispatching a couple of hundred copies of flyers in the neighborhood door to door, to doing chores on the day.  So did they help with our first public exhibition at the International Day celebration held by the York Regional Police.


Prizes for 2022 winners


A memoir, Where Beauty Survived, donated by author George Elliott Clarke and Penguin Random House-Knoph Canada

A coaching package donated by May Li, owner of Thriving Coach & Consulting (http://www.thriving-consulting.com/)

 A decoration gift set donated by Annie & Michael Raines, Founders of Raines Design (https://michaelrainesinteriors.com/)

A complete collection of George Orwell novels in Chinese, Shanghai Translation Publishing House, donated by translator Shawn Chen



2021 EAWLC Outstanding Service Award Winners


Aimin Xu

Aimin has provided Zoom technical support for many of our events, including all of the English Conversation programs where breakout room discussions are a big part.  Whatever new functions we need to operate on Zoom, Aimin always offers to spend the time to learn and then apply.  She is also in the poster group and has designed numerous beautiful posters for us to circulate on WeChat platform.  She is actively participating in the programs we have organized and never hesitates to give insightful and frank feedback.


Judith Lawrence

Judith launches the English Conversation program and is leading a native English-speaking volunteer team to help immigrant participants practice social conversational skills as well as exchange life experiences and perspectives.  Twice a month, she manages these great initiatives that require a lot of researching, outreaching, and coordinating efforts.


Ping Xiao

Ping is devoted to helping us develop programs.  She uses her academic, social and  financial resources to find excellent experts to organize lectures for us.  It was through her effort that we came to know Professor Emma Gorst, and launched the monthly Western Classics Book Club which has been enthusiastically received by attendees.  She is also one of the organizers to organize a Book Talk program where avid readers meet twice a month to share the books they recommend and facilitate discussions.  Besides all this, Ping is helping us draft flyers, poster content, and circulate marketing materials to promote our events.


Xiayu Chen (Shirley Chen)

Shirley has been doing website and group mail updates, marketing materials content development, and poster design.  She is always quick to act, and brings her spirit of professionalism to the volunteer work.


Prizes for 2021 winners


A poetry book, Mirrors and Windows by Anna Yin

 A decoration gift set donated by Annie & Michael Raines, Founders of Raines Design (https://michaelrainesinteriors.com/)

A bottle of blue vegan wine donated by producer ToRefine Ltd

A coaching package donated by May Li, owner of Thriving Coach & Consulting (http://www.thriving-consulting.com/)


Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!


The East and West Learning Connections Board

One thought on “EAWLC Outstanding Service Award Winners”

  1. A message from Mr. George Elliott Clarke – thank you very much, George!

    “I am so happy that Jovia Si has received Where Beauty Survived as a thank you from me (via Knopf Canada) in recognition of her dazzling charisma as a co-host (for “5 Poets Breaking Into Song”) and for her volunteer work for East and West Learning Connections.

    In a world so terribly easily fractured by ugly schisms and regrettable “isms,” volunteers like Jovial Si–in citizen’s organizations like the EAWLC–make a huge difference in helping to bring us together. I’m glad that my autobiography–which also calls for all to outreach to all– has been received as an honourable prize, and I thank Penguin Random House-Knopf Canada for providing this gift. All praise to Jovial Si and to the EAWLC!

    George Elliott Clarke

    Poet Laureate of Canada, 2016 & 2017”

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