Anita McBride awarded for outstanding volunteerism

Anita McBride, a committed Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) volunteer and former director of the FES Office of Student & Academic Services, has received the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism.

A seasoned youth mentor, McBride was one of 14 people and four organizations recognized for their commitment to volunteerism and longstanding service within their communities. The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration announced the award recipients April 10.

From left, Deputy Minister Chisanga Puta-Chekwe, Anita McBride and Minister Michael Coteau
From left: Deputy Minister Chisanga Puta-Chekwe, Anita McBride and Minister Michael Coteau. Photo courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration

McBride has worked with Gilda’s Club and YouthLink, where she served on the Board of Directors for seven years, serving two of those years as the president of the board. While with YouthLink, McBride was a major champion of the programs at the Inner City Drop-In Centre that supports and mentors homeless youth.

At York, McBride is most well-known for her work with the FES annual Anita McBride Alumni Mentoring Luncheon, which was named in her honour for her dedication and commitment to the students, faculty, staff and alumni in environmental studies. At this event, current MES students hear from and meet with MES alumni for career and life advice in the field of environmental studies.

More recently, McBride is responsible for spearheading the $50,000 of fundraising needed for the prestigious Gerald (Gerry) Carrothers Graduate Scholarship at FES. This award, named after the founder and first FES dean, supports outstanding graduate students that push the boundaries within the field of environmental studies.

“The Gerry Carrothers Award is very near and dear to my heart. . . . I really don’t think that the students and faculty at FES would have experienced so much success if it wasn’t for Gerry and his vision – I believe his presence and influence can still be felt at FES today,” says McBride, who also took the opportunity to remind everyone that it’s not too late to donate to the award.

When asked about what motivates her, McBride said, “After I retired from FES, I found I had a lot of time on my hands. I’ve always liked to keep busy, so whenever an opportunity came up to get involved and help out with something – whether a dinner for FES alumni or an event at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto or joining the board at YouthLink – I said yes. It’s so important to give back to our communities – even the smallest things can make a big difference.”

Not only is McBride a force to be reckoned with, she is also humble, shifting the focus of her remarks to show gratitude for her nominators. “I was actually kind of surprised to hear that I was going to be one of the recipients of the award,” says McBride, who at the same time says she is grateful and humbled.

For more information, visit the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism website.