On behalf of the Food and Friends team and The Children's Foundation - congratulations to Jessie McConnell on the well deserved nomination for the Women of Distinction awards. Jessie, Breakfast Program Coordinator at the GCVI Breakfast Club, has been nominated in the Volunteer Category. Ann Murray, Rector’s Warden, from St. James Anglican Church who host the program wrote this great letter in support of Jessie's nomination:

My acquaintance with Jessie began in the late spring of 2011 when she applied to be the Co-ordinator of our Breakfast Club for G.C.V.I. students. From the outset, I have found her to be enthusiastic, innovative and extremely conscientious as well as remarkably personable.

volunteer

As a very busy third year university student in the Family Relations & Applied Nutrition Department, University of Guelph, she, nevertheless, has been able to carry a very responsible load as the Co-ordinator of our Breakfast Club, held every weekday morning at the church. This has required that she be out of her house and at the bus stop in time to ensure she arrives at the church at or before 7 a.m. every Monday through Friday during term in order to set up the parish hall for the students and lay out the breakfast in time for the students’ arrival before 8 a.m. Despite considerable health challenges, she never complains, is considerate, totally reliable and routinely seeks out ways to improve the program.

Her tasks as the Breakfast Club Co-ordinator go well beyond the daily on-site activities, since she is responsible for ensuring that the menu-planning and grocery shopping meet the on-going nutritional needs of the students and this she does with aplomb. Moreover, she is responsible for seeking out and applying for funding in a timely manner from a variety of granting agencies and organizations and has gone out of her way to seek other sources of funding from her own personal connections.

She interacts very well with our adult volunteers and has recruited a large team of university students who volunteer in the program as well – a clear indication of the benefits of her engaging personality, her exceptional leadership skills and her genuine commitment to the Breakfast Club. She is certainly a strong role model for women; both for the high school students who use the Breakfast Club and for her university peers. When one considers her relatively young age, her accomplishments are even more impressive.

Although my experience with Jessie is limited to her work here at St. James, I am well aware of her many other interests that greatly enhance the life both of the community at large and of the university. When I was asked to provide a letter of support for this nomination, I accepted without any hesitation. On behalf of the St. James Community, I confirm that Jessie McConnell is highly deserving of the recognition that comes with being named a Woman of Distinction in Guelph.