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Darren Connolly is this year’s recipient of the President’s Award for Community Service in recognition of his ongoing commitment and dedication to addressing inclusivity, accessibility and independence for individuals with disabilities in our community.
Darren serves on the Board of Directors at Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS) and serves as the Vice President Volunteer for the organization. His board role includes working with the provincial government and the Ministry of Community and Social Services to address issues relevant to individuals living with disabilities. Darren is also a Director on the Board of Community Living Elgin, and is a mentor for the Small Business Enterprise Centre in St Thomas, mentoring students and adults with their Summer Company and Starter Company programs. Additionally, Darren’s volunteer work has extended to leading and participating in fundraisers for March of Dimes, Thames Valley Children’s Centre, Easter Seals, and Community Living London.
Darren has worked at LHSC for two years as a family advisor in the Children’s Hospital Paediatric Family Resource Centre, providing information, resources and guidance to patients, families and staff. Throughout his nomination letters, a common theme highlighted how Darren conducts himself with patience, humour and kindness, and how these qualities extend beyond the hospital walls and into his various roles within the community. One of his nominators writes, “Darren has been described by many as a champion of hope. His relentless passion and compassion for people is palpable. His capacity to turn each conversation into a model of storytelling for critical reflection and deeper learning and understanding is something to be witness to.”