Michele Sparling

Oakville mother recognized for her volunteer efforts

  • August 26, 2011

TORONTO - Oakville Catholic parent Michele Sparling is this year’s recipient of the Father Mazerolle Award from the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education.

The award honours a lay or religious volunteer who supports the goals of OAPCE and has contributed substantially to the Catholic education community through at least two years of volunteer service.

Sparling, a mother of two, credits her family, including her mother, Betty, and grandmother, Catherine, for inspiring her to get involved in her community. She said that volunteering in Catholic education is important because “it’s where my kids are.”

“It’s also the way I was brought up. I was brought up that you give back,” said Sparling. “It’s something I can do that helps add value for not only my kids but other kids.”

Whether it was the Catholic Women’s League or doing community work, Sparling’s mother demonstrated the importance of giving to others, said Sparling, the Catholic School Council chair at St. Luke Catholic Elementary School in Oakville.

Sparling said she was “shocked” and “humbled” by the award, in particular because she was nominated by her fellow parent volunteers as well as a board trustee and board staff, including St. Luke’s principal.

In her nomination letter, St. Luke’s principal Karen Dobbie wrote: “Michele Sparling is an outstanding example of volunteerism.”

“In reviewing Michele’s accomplishments, one is astounded by the depth and breadth of her activities,” the letter read. “While bringing up her family and attending to a busy career and household, Michele has been a dedicated volunteer both in the St. Luke School community and the Halton Catholic District School Board.”

Originally from Glace Bay, N.S., Sparling came to Toronto in 1986. She has been a parent volunteer at St. Luke’s since 1998. She joined the school council in 2006 and later became its co-chair. She has organized the school’s cultural program for many years.

As chair of the school council, Sparling succeeded in obtaining government grants that funded the “Outside to Inside” program for parents. Sparling’s enthusiasm for ecological awareness helped in the school’s efforts to become an Eco school with gold status.

“Her belief in making this world a better place is demonstrated daily in her actions and convictions,” Dobbie said.

Currently, Sparling runs her own company and works as a human resources consultant. She volunteers about five hours a week at the school.

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