By Johanne Adam
“For me, giving back is about helping security guards better serve the community. The Protection Services fund I donate to helps uOttawa security guards get valuable training, mostly on mental health issues.” — Omari Caines, security guard at uOttawa
Omari Caines has supported the Employee Giving program since 2015. He says that incidents on campus involving people living with mental health issues have increased since he started at the University in 2011.
Caines is highly attuned to this reality. He believes that “it is essential that front line personnel be better trained so that they know how to handle these situations.”
“We’re like a small police force on campus, in a community of 50,000,” he adds. “We need to be equipped to respond to any type of emergency.”
This year, Caines took his involvement up a notch by volunteering for the annual Employee Giving campaign. His role is to solicit donations from Protection Services staff.
A strategy that works
Constant recruitment of new volunteers is a winning strategy for Martin Grégoire, coordinator of training and crime prevention and of the Employee Giving program at Protection Services. It’s enabled him to up his unit’s participation a little every year.
“As coordinator, I am able to recruit and diversify my team of volunteers that help solicit our staff. Each year, I change up the team and I choose people who are close to different sections here at Protection services, such as officers, management personnel and the parking division staff,” says Grégoire, a donor himself since 2014.
For Grégoire, the more you involve people, the more the number of people aware of the importance of giving to the program grows.
“I see students’ stress when they’re squeezed financially. Sometimes it’s hard for them to pay for their apartment and groceries. This constant stress doesn’t allow them to enjoy their university experience. But through this campaign we can help them. I believe that every student has the right to fully enjoy this unique time.” — Martin Grégoire
Protection Services funds
The Robert J. Desnoyers Memorial Fund provides financial assistance to students who contribute to the University community by volunteering with Protection Services or the Foot Patrol.
The Protection Services Fund (Sports) assists student athletes whose studies might otherwise be compromised.
The Protection Services Fund supports Protection Services priorities, by providing training for guards.
The Employee Giving program plays an integral role in Defy the Conventional: The Campaign for uOttawa, which seeks to strengthen the University’s teaching, research and service. Employees can make a donation by logging into VirtuO.