CNIB honours two volunteers for their exceptional achievements in helping Newfoundland and Labrordorians who are blind or partially sighted


​(ST. JOHN’S – Oct. 5, 2016) CNIB is honouring Brandon Snow with the Holly Award and Marek Otfinowski with the Outstanding Volunteer Award at its annual community meeting today for their passion, dedication and support for individuals who are blind or partially sighted in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

In 2011, CNIB established the Holly Award as a tribute to the memory of Holly Bartlett, an exceptional young woman who touched the lives of many staff, clients and volunteers at CNIB. 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 that has inspired people in our community.

This year’s Holly Award recipient, Brandon Snow, has been volunteering at CNIB and Memorial University since 2013. Brandon has been mentoring blind or partially sighted students who are transitioning from high school to a post-secondary institution through CNIB’s Post-Secondary Youth Orientation Program.

“Brandon has made a significant contribution to student life at Memorial through volunteer activities and work on behalf of students with disabilities. Through his advocacy work, his dedication to his academics and his desire to improve the lives of others, Brandon has developed into a strong role model for other young people,” said Ruth North, manager of the Blundon Centre at Memorial University.

During CNIB public education and media campaigns, Brandon shares how CNIB engages and empowers individuals like him to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. By utilizing his own experiences, Brandon demonstrates that anything is possible for a person who is blind or partially sighted.

CNIB’s Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes exceptional service; defined as consistent, selfless giving of time and effort to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are blind or partially sighted. 

Marek Otfinowski has been an incredibly dedicated and respectful volunteer with CNIB, particularly the Vision Mate program, for the last two years.

“Marek is very deserving of the Outstanding Volunteer Award. He goes out of his way to help out his vision mate or CNIB in any way possible. He is very dedicated to assisting his vision mate, Cecil, in being able to be part of the activities he enjoys. He is an incredible asset to the CNIB family, and always makes an effort to make sure Cecil feels connected to CNIB as well,” said Lynsey Soper, CNIB’s Volunteer Coordinator for Newfoundland and Labrador.

About CNIB

Established in 1918, CNIB provided food, clothing, residences and library services to blinded veterans and other Canadians living with vision loss. Our organization has evolved over the last 97 years; in addition to charitable programs – such as education, advocacy, research and client support – CNIB has become the primary provider of vision rehabilitation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

CNIB’s vision rehabilitation programs and services reduce the personal, social and economic costs of vision loss, while improving the overall health and wellbeing of individuals who are blind or partially sighted. CNIB helps individuals to see beyond vision loss and lead full, active lives. Whether that means learning to cook again after a loss of sight, going back to school, maintaining employment, travelling safely and independently with a white cane or getting support to adjust to the emotional and social impact of vision loss.

Over the last year, 59 active volunteers contributed 4,416 hours of service in Newfoundland & Labrador. Twenty-four per cent of CNIB’s volunteers in Newfoundland and Labrador are individuals who are blind or partially sighted.


Media contact:

Debbie Ryan
CNIB Communications
P. (709) 754–1180, ext. 5811
C. (709) 685-7263

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