Gemma Raeburn-Baynes, tireless volunteer receiving community award
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2011 2:55PM EDT
MONTREAL - Gemma Raeburn-Baynes is a tireless volunteer and fundraiser who always seems to be on a mission.
"I thrive on it! I love to do it and I love to help people," said Raeburn-Baynes.
It's that energy which has led to her recognition by the Quebec Community Groups Network, which is giving her and two other women the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguish Community Service Award.
One of the recent recipients of the dynamo's help is Gabrielle Leblanc, who left her family behind in Jamaica when she moved to Montreal.
"You know being here for just two years I felt like I could talk to her like she was my mother. Like a role model," said Leblanc.
That mentorship led Leblanc to a scholarship at the St. Pius X Culinary Institute, funded by Raeburn-Baynes's Taste of the Caribbean fundraiser.
Being a role model has always come naturally to Raeburn-Baynes.
Even as a child in her native Grenada, she inspired and taught others.
"I would gather all the kids from my village in Grenada who didn't go to school and teach them what I learned in school," said Raeburn-Baynes.
She has had setbacks, but always manages to find her feet and keep on working.
"When I had my surgery for my heart I stayed home and cried for three months, and my doctor said 'Don't you have a party to organize?' He said 'Go organize a party or something, stop this' and then I just went right back into my community work and knock wood - I've been feeling better," said Raeburn-Baynes.
"It is very inspirational, she's always on the go, doing something, giving back," said Leblanc.
Now, it's her turn to receive.
Raeburn-Baynes, Joan Ivory, and Aline Visser will all be recognized Saturday Oct. 22, 2011 at Montreal's St. James Club.
Part Two of this series will appear Thursday.
Gemma Rayburn-Baynes heads up Taste of the Caribbean.