Congratulations to Spark's first Outstanding Pro Bono Consultant Award winner!

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Congratulations to Lawrence Lazarko, winner of the first-ever Spark Outstanding Pro Bono Consultant Award, a new category at Volunteer Manitoba's Annual Volunteer Awards.

Lawrence was nominated by IRCOM (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba) for IT assistance he provided in 2014 after IRCOM's long-time IT consultant, Masoud, passed away unexpectedly. "Not only did his passing have an impact on staff," said Erin Anderson, IRCOM's Volunteer Manager, "it had a profound impact on our capacity to handle even the simplest of IT concerns. Masoud had been responsible for IRCOM's IT systems for over 20 years, and... we found ourselves with a very limited understanding of our existing IT network, no idea of what processes to follow and with no staff able to fill the gap." Over the course of the next few months, Lawrence led a project that helped IRCOM understand their current IT situation and set them up to be able to hire a new IT employee.

"Mr. Lazarko was a truly outstanding volunteer. After hearing of our circumstances, and without hesitation, he stepped forward to assist IRCOM... Without his expertise and generosity it is difficult to say where we would be today.

Carlos and Erin from IRCOM standing beside Lawrence (centre) following a Spark match

"Mr. Lazarko was always extremely sensitive and responsive to the long history Masoud had with our organization prior to his passing and was remarkably patient in the face of our lack of technical knowledge and our unconventional set up. He seemed to immediately understand and appreciate the context we operate in and made recommendations and shared guidance that was realistic and thoughtful.

"Mr. Lazarko is a deeply considerate, thoughtful individual who clearly cares a great deal about improving our community for others. Throughout his placement with us he was consistently grateful for the opportunity to help out and showed a genuine appreciation for the work IRCOM does... He is a very generous individual that is truly a gift to our community."

Spark is a pro bono matching service of the Canadian CED Network, matching Winnipeg's community development organizations with professionals volunteering their skills for social good.

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