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Long time Youturn volunteer Dr. Gregory Motayne with Stefan Keyes. Photo courtesy of United Way Ottawa.

Community Builders: Dr. Motayne supports youth and volunteers alike

By United Way East Ontario on October 29, 2018


Skye Walker is one of Apt613’s correspondents at United Way Ottawa. With its Community Builder Award program, United Way Ottawa 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.

On September 25, Dr. Gregory Motayne had no idea Youturn’s Annual General Meeting would be interrupted.

Youturn is an organization that provides intensive services and supports to youth in conflict. Their goal is to help their clients shift to active participation in society—after being at risk or being young offenders—and make choices that will help them remain in the community and succeed in their lives.

Youturn delivers counselling, education and training, clinical treatment and a range of additional supports—all focused on helping youth and families build on their strengths and develop their personal competencies for a brighter future.

For those in the field who don’t seem to feel that you’re making a dent, you are. It will come to fruition much later, and the impact at that time is going to be extremely significant. —Dr. Gregory Motayne

Dr. Motayne has worked with Youturn for over a decade, helping the organization grow into one that successfully helps high-risk youth get back on their feet. Dr. Motayne led the agency into a new era, adding four new programs for troubled youth and their families, as well as delving into research and evaluation in order to strengthen the existing programs. So, Dr. Motayne had seen many YouTurn AGMs over the years, but never one where CTV News’ Stefan Keyes halted the proceedings to give an award.

From the audience, Dr. Motayne’s surprise at receiving a United Way Community Builder was evident.

The reaction in the room as Dr. Motayne accepted his Community Builder Award made it clear that he is a valued member of the community. Dr. Motayne’s colleagues took great care in arranging the surprise for him and all the attendees, and the excitement in the room for such a presentation made it clear that Dr. Motayne is passionate about his work and has made a difference in many people’s lives.

Dr. Gregory Motayne was surprised with a United Way Ottawa Community Builder award at the Youturn AGM. Photo courtesy of United Way Ottawa.

After accepting the award, Dr. Motayne took a moment to say a few words to the assembled volunteers, sharing some of his wisdom from the past decade of volunteering with youth:

“Sometimes it seems as though you don’t make a dent. But I think the answer comes when many years later they come to you and say, ‘I remember what you told me, and that helped me turn things around.’ For those in the field who don’t seem to feel that you’re making a dent, you are. It will come to fruition much later, and the impact at that time is going to be extremely significant.”

Thanks to Dr. Motayne, young people all over Ottawa are able to wake up, proud of who they are. It takes a passionate, kind and caring leader like Dr. Motayne to make a difference, and we are thrilled to have him join the ranks of the United Way Community Builders.

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.