Legacy award re­wards vol­un­teer ef­fort

Lin­wood’s Tiffany Weber is in­au­gu­ral re­cip­i­ent of Jim Lehman Legacy Schol­ar­ship for her work in the com­mu­nity

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI

EDSS STU­DENT TIFFANY WEBER was rec­og­nized by the KW Legacy or­ga­ni­za­tion this week for her vol­un­teerism work in the com­mu­nity and in­ter­na­tion­ally. The Grade 12 stu­dent, a Lin­wood res­i­dent, was the re­cip­i­ent of the in­au­gu­ral Jim Lehman Legacy Schol­ar­ship for the sum of $5,000 towards her univer­sity ca­reer.

Af­ter an emo­tional meet­ing with the fam­ily of the late Jim Lehman on Tues­day, Weber said she was es­pe­cially grate­ful to have been se­lected.

“It’s very en­cour­ag­ing in help­ing me to con­tinue to vol­un­teer and help oth­ers. I think that I’m very hon­oured and thank­ful,” she said, not­ing that she still felt in shock a bit. “I’m just blown away.”

Weber learned a lot of the sig­nif­i­cance of the award, she says, when she met the fam­ily. The KW Legacy or­ga­ni­za­tion man­ages and fundraises for a num­ber of schol­ar­ships of­fered by dif­fer­ent groups. This year, fam­ily mem­bers of Lehman had cre­ated an award in his mem­ory.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion helped to find mem­bers in the com­mu­nity el­i­gi­ble for the schol­ar­ship, but it was the fam­ily of Lehman that se­lected the win­ner.

“We’re ba­si­cally look­ing for fu­ture lead­ers in our re­spec­tive com­mu­nity,” ex­plained Mike Denomme, who is the co-founder of KW Legacy as well as the nephew of Lehman on his mother’s side. Denomme’s fa­ther Vince, mother Diane, and broth­ers Brian and Scott put up the $5,000 to­gether to fund the schol­ar­ship.

“We’re ac­tu­ally look­ing for these types of stu­dents, and when she was talk­ing we knew we had found the right stu­dent,” he added.

For Weber, who hopes to be­come a reg­is­tered nurse, vol­un­teer­ing seems as much a way of liv­ing as any­thing else. With her church youth group, she’s rou­tinely given her time at lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Reapers of Hope or the var­i­ous group homes in Water­loo. The group will also pass by the Chartwell re­tire­ment home just to talk and, some­times, sing.

“It’s not great singing but they love it any­ways,” she added with a laugh.

Beyond her lo­cal ef­forts, it was also Weber’s vol­un­teerism across Canada and out of the coun­try that left an im­pres­sion. Some of that may have been in­cul­cated into her by her fam­ily. Weber’s par­ents founded the Crane Lake Dis­cov­ery Camp, a reg­is­tered char­ity and camp run by vol­un­teers in the Muskoka area.

Abroad, Weber last year made a trek to Bo­livia to lend her hand at an or­phan­age that her church had been sup­port­ing.

“It was with a group of youth and we just hung out at this or­phan­age called Ni­nos Con Valor, and we just got to know the chil­dren of the or­phan­age. And then we built a shed there too, and just did a lot of activities with the kids there.”

Closer to home, Weber also ven­tured out with another group to the Grassy Nar­rows First Na­tions re­serve in Western On­tario to meet and learn from the lo­cals.

“There we just did a lot of ser­vice learn­ing with the com­mu­nity. Just see­ing some of the strug­gles, the harder parts of Canada and try­ing to un­der­stand their jour­ney and their ex­pe­ri­ence in life,” she said.

Choos­ing a re­cip­i­ent for the first Jim Lehman Legacy Schol­ar­ship, the fam­ily wanted some­one who best ex­em­pli­fied his own qual­i­ties. Lehman was him­self heav­ily in­volved in the com­mu­nity as a vol­un­teer, but more than that was his char­ac­ter, which, Mike Denomme says, they found mir­rored in Weber’s ap­pli­ca­tion for the schol­ar­ship.

“She talked about jus­tice a lot. She re­ally wants jus­tice for all, she doesn’t want peo­ple to be mis­treated. She roots for the un­der­dog,” said Denomme. “Just these traits that my mum talked about that were very sim­i­lar to Jim, that we found when we read it, we knew we kind of had her per­son.”

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

EDSS stu­dent Tiffany Weber was the first re­cip­i­ent of Jim Lehman Legacy Schol­ar­ship for $5,000 for her ex­ten­sive vol­un­teerism, both in the com­mu­nity and beyond.

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