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L to R: Aditi Sivakumar, Suzanne Pinel. Photo courtesy of United Way Ottawa.

Community Builders: Three ways Aditi Sivakumar is making waves in Ottawa

By Hayley Robateau on April 17, 2018


Hayley Robateau is one of Apt613’s correspondents at United Way Ottawa. With its Community Builder Awards program, United Way honours Ottawa’s outstanding volunteers: the organizations, partnerships, agencies, neighbourhood groups and individuals who work tirelessly to make our city a better place for everyone.

To kick off National Volunteer Week a bit early, Suzanne Pinel, a member of United Way Ottawa’s recognition team, presented an incredibly deserving young woman with a Community Builder Award on Friday, April 13.

Aditi Sivakumar is a passionate leader and advocate for women empowerment and global health. Her volunteer work has spread across the city and beyond, affecting the lives of many people from diverse backgrounds for more than nine years.

Here are three ways Aditi has made a difference in Ottawa with her volunteerism:

1. Empowering women

Aditi uses her compassion, empathy and active listening skills to lift up women in challenging situations. She has volunteered with Breast Cancer Action Ottawa to support patients and survivors, currently offers her skills as a volunteer Peer Support Worker at the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre to help women who have been in abusive relationships, and also lends her time at Chrysalis House, a shelter for women and families fleeing violence and abuse. Aditi and her fellow Peer Supporters at the WOCRC also planned and organized a vigil to commemorate the École Polytechnique massacre, and helped plan the event Coldest Night of the Year.

2. Helping seniors improve their quality of life

Two different retirement homes in Ottawa benefit from Aditi’s time and commitment. She volunteers at the Forest Hill Long Term Care Home and the Red Oak Retirement Home. Between these two communities, she organizes movie nights, game nights and social events for the residents to keep them healthy, active and engaged. Aditi also offers manicure sessions to the residents at the Red Oak Retirement Home, which became so popular they replaced the bi-weekly crafting sessions! Aditi was also an executive member of the Generations club, which raised money for retirement homes around Ottawa to support their activities.

Photo courtesy of United Way Ottawa.

3. Promoting and researching healthy lifestyles

By focusing her love of sports and fitness into charitable organizations, Aditi has been able to help individuals affected by a variety of neuro-developmental disorders like autism, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Aditi was a volunteer camp counsellor at Inspirations Camp, a summer camp for children and young adults who are on the autism spectrum.

Aditi also volunteers as a physiotherapy assistant at The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, and has planned numerous events, bake sales, coffee breaks and barbecues to fundraise for the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Photo courtesy of United Way Ottawa.

Aditi is passionate about improving health outcomes for a variety of individuals, so she applies the knowledge she learned studying Life Sciences at Queen’s University to broaden health research in the community. While she was studying in university, she offered her time and skills in five different research departments at Queen’s, and continued her volunteer research over the summers at the University of Ottawa.

Aditi volunteers at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, and in 2015 she went abroad to the Dominican Republic to volunteer at a local public hospital and provide health services to under-represented groups.

These are just three ways (that encompass an extensive amount of time, effort and dedication) that Aditi has given back to the community to make it a better place for everyone. Aditi is a shining star of accomplishment, and she’s only getting started. We can’t wait to see what she gets up to next.

Through research, evaluation and partnerships with community experts, United Way Ottawa identifies the root causes of the biggest social challenges facing our community, and helps find solutions that change tens of thousands of lives for the better. One hundred percent of donations stay in Ottawa to help those most in need.