A prolific poet and consummate community volunteer has been bestowed with a national award.
South Delta’s Jean Kay, who has written a poem every day for the past 23-plus years, was recently presented with the prestigious Alan Sangster Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Canadian Authors Association (CAA), one of the oldest writing establishments in Canada, celebrating 100 years this year.
Kay was presented with the award at an Association Zoom meeting during National Volunteer Week and received the award from her husband Jerry, who she says, secretly stashed away the award and kept it secret until the presentation.
And to top off the surprise and the honour, the CAA announced the creation of a new award for volunteering at the branch level beginning next year with the award to be called The Jean Kay Award.
“I was completely surprised, humbled, honored, and delighted when they presented me with the Alan Sangster Award,” said Kay. “Then the other honour about the new award, well I was speechless. This is a huge honor for me. I feel very blessed and grateful.”
The Alan Sangster Award was created in 1968 and honours volunteerism at the national level in creative ways. Prior to this year, the award had not been awarded since 2014.
“The process of finding that volunteer to be recognized relied on people who had won it before, so it kind of fell through the cracks, but they wanted to bring it back and this was the year they brought it back,” Kay said. “I’ve been a member for 21 years and, yes I have put in thousands of hours, but it has been a labour of love.”
Besides her countless hours volunteering with the CAA, Kay also volunteers at KinVillage and has had one of her poems in the KinVillage newsletter monthly since November 2002. She also volunteers with the Elder College Singers.
She says she has always had a passion for writing and volunteerism.“Having a positive attitude and wanting to give back. The motto for Canadian Authors is writers helping writers and we certainly do that on a regular basis,” she said. “I’m met so many wonderful people over the years. The camaraderie is a huge part of Canadian Authors. It’s writers at every level – experienced, or new, so anyone can join and learn from each other. It has always been something worthwhile and I find, even as a poet, I learn from everyone on a regular basis. There is always a gem in the way they do things that is beneficial.”