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Matthew MacGregor Award for Volunteerism



Matthew MacGregor was an exceptional young man. He brought joy to all who knew him and thrived when he spent time with family and friends and in his community. Sadly, Matthew passed away in late March 2020 at the young age of 21. He is missed by many.


At WRFN, in celebration of Matthew’s life and in his memory, we have renamed our annual volunteer award – the Matthew MacGregor Award for Volunteerism. Matthew gave so much to our community with his friendship, laughter and smiles, it seems only fitting that an award recognizing dedicated volunteers carry his name.  


WRFN would not be possible without the amazing dedication and support of volunteers. Volunteers have been recognized each year for their dedication and commitment.






Beautiful Flower Boy


Read a tribute shared by Matthew's mother, Laura, during our 2021 Evening of Elegance about the gifts her son brought to the world and what made him a "beautiful flower boy."


A close up of a large sunflower.



Read Here

Past Award Recipients





Karen Applebee & Lyn McGinnis

2023 Volunteer Award Recipients

The recipients of our 2023 Volunteer Awards were Karen Applebee and Lyn McGinnis.
Both Karen and Lyn have been active participants in the groups they volunteer with.
Karen has been the alternate representative for WRFN on the Waterloo Catholic District
School Board Special Education Advisory Committee for the past several years, while Lyn
has been an integral part of Coffee Club. We send our thanks, once again, to Karen and
Lyn for their involvement and dedication to WRFN families and self-advocates through
their volunteer roles.

Photo of Jennifer Lasenby-Lessard   Photo of Christine Zaza




Jennifer Lasenby-Lessard & Christine Zaza

2022 Volunteer Award Recipients

This year, we are so pleased to honour two amazing volunteers – Jennifer Lasenby-Lessard and Christine Zaza. Both have been involved with the WRFN Parent Mentor Program for several years providing emotional support to, and sharing resources with, parents who are traveling similar journeys.

Photo of Jennifer Lasenby-Lessard   Photo of Christine Zaza




A New Chapter Planning Group

2021 Volunteer Award Recipient(s)

Wendy Newbery, Mary Pike, Anne Yardley, Judy Hight and Pam Polfuss-Schmidt, who meet regularly to plan meetings, share topic ideas, engage speakers and keep the group connected and informed, were the recipients of the volunteer award in 2021. 

Crayon drawing of a group of people, with one person standing in front of the group, The words Relationships Support System are printed below the drawing. 




Trish Coupal & Monique Kaptein

2020 Volunteer Award Recipients

Trish and Monique were both recognized as founding parents of WRFN and for serving on our Board of Directors for many years, retiring last June. Each has volunteered many hours as a dedicated Parent Mentor with the WRFN Parent Mentor Program personally guiding and supporting other parents

Photo of Monique Kaptein Photo of Trish Coupal   





Sue Furey

2019 Volunteer Award Recipient

Sue was recognized for her heartfelt commitment to Parent Mentorship, participation on the Governance and Nominations Committee, engagement in various working groups, and as a valued contributor to community discussions.

Photo of Sue Furey




Stuart Cross

2018 Volunteer Award Recipient

Stuart was recognized for his amazing commitment to our Evening of Elegance signature event, his role as Chair of the ASD Collaborative, and for helping out whenever needed.

Photo of Stuart Cross




Carol Maas

2017 Volunteer Award Recipient

Carol was recognized for her passionate commitment to Parent Mentorship and support to families during weekly peer-led conversations.

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Paige McDonnell 

2016 Volunteer Award Recipient

Paige was recognized for her enthusiastic commitment as an Active Start and FUNdamentals volunteer for multiple programs.


Photo of Paige McDonnell




Stephanie Prysnuk 

2015 Volunteer Award Recipient

Stephanie was recognized for her consistent commitment to admin support and for keeping our office organized, and our team smiling.

Photo of Stephanie Prysnuk




Carmen Sutherland 

2014 Volunteer Award Recipient

Carmen was recognized for her outstanding commitment in a Leadership role for Coffee Club, Life Chat and LADDER (peer mentor) programs.

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