Local volunteers honoured for their commitment to helping New Brunswickers with blindness or partial sight


CNIB is honouring two exceptional volunteers for their passion, dedication and support for individuals who are blind or partially sighted in New Brunswick at its annual community meeting on Thursday, September 11, 2014.

“We are pleased to announce Ellen Pelletier as this year’s recipient of the Holly Award and Betty Noseworthy as our Outstanding Volunteer Award recipient,” said Christine Kennedy-Babineau, CNIB’s Volunteer Coordinator for New Brunswick. “Through their extraordinary leadership and volunteer efforts, Ellen and Betty have had an immeasurable impact on the lives of people with vision loss in our province.”

In 2011, CNIB established the Holly Award as a tribute to the memory of Holly Bartlett, an extraordinary young woman from Halifax who didn’t let her vision loss hold her back from living life to the fullest. This award – presented to exceptional volunteers in Atlantic Canada – captures the spirit of Holly and recognizes the commitment and generosity of a CNIB volunteer with vision loss who has inspired people in our community.

Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at eight years old, Ellen Pelletier has never allowed her eye condition to keep her from leading a full and active life. A fierce advocate for the rights of individuals who are living with blindness or partial sight, Ellen plays a key role in public education as a CNIB ambassador and volunteer with the MIRA Foundation.

“With her positive attitude and vibrant sense of humour, Ellen has been instrumental in raising awareness in the community about what it’s like to live with vision loss and how to create a more inclusive society,” said Kennedy-Babineau. “In sharing her experiences, she has also helped many individuals come to terms with their own vision loss and accept the support and training that will allow them to continue living independently.”

Over the past nine years, Ellen has also traveled throughout Atlantic Canada raising funds to help match guide dogs with individuals who are blind and deafblind through the MIRA Foundation.

CNIB’s Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes exceptional service; defined as consistent, selfless giving of time and effort to help New Brunswickers who are blind or partially sighted fully participate in life.

Over the last year, Betty Noseworthy has served as a Vision Mate to three CNIB clients in the Fredericton area. CNIB’s Vision Mate program matches individuals living with vision loss with specially trained volunteers who offer friendly companionship and provide sighted assistance for day-to-day tasks and errands.

Betty meets with her Vision Mate matches several times a week, helping with everything from grocery shopping and reading mail to attending social events and enjoying leisure and recreational activities together.

“Betty’s one-on-one interaction and friendship with her matches has gone a long way towards helping them live much more comfortably and reduce the social isolation that is sometimes associated with vision loss,” said Kennedy-Babineau. “Betty consistently goes above and beyond to assist those who do not have family or a support system living nearby, and provides a helping hand for those everyday activities we often take for granted.”

CNIB’s volunteers are truly the heart and soul of our organization. Through their incredible passion and perseverance, both Ellen and Betty have touched the lives of many staff, clients and volunteers at CNIB.


Media contacts:

Nicole Lawrence
Communications Specialist, CNIB
902.453.1480, ext. 5721

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