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United Way East Ontario honours Community Builders Melody Lachance, Guy Dancause, and Helen McIntosh

By United Way East Ontario on June 8, 2022

On May 31, in collaboration with Apt613, we recognized five more incredible community builders. Yesterday, we told you about Donald Neville and Marie Therese Wang. Today, read about Melody Lachance, Guy Dancause, and Helen McIntosh.

Louisa Taylor hosted the presentation and helped us surprise these unexpecting recipients—people who have worked tirelessly to make our communities safer, healthier, and more resilient when circumstances are still difficult and strained for many of us. From delivering hot meals to isolated seniors, to helping marginalized communities succeed in entrepreneurship—community builders are constantly showing selflessness and care during these unique times.

These recipients are community leaders and fearless advocates who have stepped up and demonstrated a local love that has not gone unnoticed.

Award recipients have demonstrated a strong ability to mobilize their communities, going above and beyond their regular volunteerism. They also represent the kind of quiet determination and heroism that inspires others to act—leading by example.

We thank everyone who takes the time to nominate everyday heroes, and we thank you, community builders, for your exceptional contributions.

Melody Lachance

Melody Lachance. Photo provided.

Melody is a whirlwind of energy, positivity, and enthusiasm for helping people within her community. For more than eight years, she has been dedicating her time to helping out her community and volunteering with local pet rescues.

Melody created Barrhaven and Area Empties, a community of people committed to supporting local animal shelters. Barrhaven and Area Empties raises funds through collecting empties, pop cans, and much more for local animal rescues to give them the ability to provide quality care to animals in need.

In 2020, one empty wine bottle and beer can at a time, Melody raised more than $25,000. She played a crucial role in getting pet microchip scanners for her area, so lost pets could reunite with their families faster. She has also purchased live traps so that lost and scared pets could be brought in from the cold and then identified with the microchip scanner. Melody encourages her network of helpers and volunteers she’s cultivated in the Barrhaven and Area Empties Facebook group to provide pet food as donations.

“I am just one person who tries to do my best, and I can’t thank people enough for coming through and helping the animals in our communities.”

Melody loves engaging youth in her volunteer work. She works with high school students by helping them collect their required volunteer hours needed to graduate. She teaches the students the importance of recycling, helping others, and supporting animal rescues within the community.

Melody is seen as a hero in Ottawa’s animal rescue community, and she continues to find time to connect with people and ensure they are supported. She genuinely cares about the well-being of both animals and people and will do whatever she can to rally support for whatever is needed.

Guy Dancause

Guy Dancause. Photo provided.

Guy is a down-to-earth, positive, and caring individual. He puts his heart and soul into working hard to support the Indigenous community within Ottawa. Guy has been volunteering for more than ten years and has created numerous programs and networks supporting Indigenous communities and entrepreneurship.

A large portion of his volunteerism has been with the Indigenous Peoples Network (IPN), where he has served as a board member and a crucial part of the network’s ongoing success. IPN was founded in October 2010 and is a volunteer group comprised of Indigenous professionals, students, and community members. It’s a safe space for members to have positive networking experiences and a place to share information within the community, such as events and resources.

Before the pandemic, Guy would meet every month with other volunteers to organize monthly networking evenings that included guest business speakers. Guy has arranged countless positive and beneficial business speakers thanks to his connections.

“This is a tremendous effort to be done by this team, and I’d like to recognize all of the other recipients being awarded today, thank you very much.”

Recently, Guy co-founded a new program called the National Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurs Ecosystem, in conjunction with the Idea Connector Network, a social enterprise committed to enhancing Indigenous entrepreneurship capacity.

This new program will empower and support Indigenous women interested in launching a business venture. The program, which is fully funded and offered to applicants at no cost, will provide women with coaching, workshops, group projects, and networking opportunities.

No matter the type of volunteering Guy embarks on, he’s always there to empower Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities within Ottawa.

Helen McIntosh

Helen McIntosh. Photo provided.

Helen embodies the qualities of a great leader, and fellow volunteers and coworkers admire her work ethic and warm-heartedness. With more than 11 years of volunteer experience under her belt, she has always supported people in unforeseen circumstances with her words and actions.

Until recently, Helen was the chair of United Way East Ontario’s Lanark County and Smiths Falls Advisory Council, which works to meet the unique needs and established priorities there.

Helen is described as a great listener because she quietly takes in all the information and takes the time to create thoughtful responses. She also crafts solutions or ideas into relevant proposals that are in line with the needs of her community.

“I’ve been so lucky to work with so many amazing volunteers, staff, and our partners to make a difference in our communities.”

Helen has always led by example in her quiet yet effective ways of discussing what is suitable for her community. Whether dealing with internal or external issues, Helen would work closely with staff and volunteers to ensure everyone was treated equally, always keeping a level head and making sure each person was listened to and acknowledged—resulting in stronger solutions for all sides.

Helen’s clarity in her responses and ideas is deeply appreciated by everyone she works with. Staff and volunteers always feel supported, knowing Helen will speak up when necessary and will always seek a result that benefits the entire community.

Whenever she can, Helen attends events and advocates for the vulnerable communities she serves.

Do you know a volunteer who has gone above and beyond to support their community? Our Community Builder Awards program accepts nominations year-round! Nominate a Community Builder today!