Urban Hero Award 2023: Vote for Fran, ESS Volunteer

Head shot of Frances Chiappetta, ESS Volunteer, Dance with Fran program
It’s with great pleasure that we have nominated ESS Volunteer, Frances (Fran) Chiappetta for this year’s Urban Hero Award hosted by Metroland Media Toronto.

The Urban Hero Award “celebrates community heroes of all ages for their inspiring work, leadership and good deeds in the city. The program is designed to honour the people that make a difference in the lives of others.” (Metroland)

Since the pandemic, Frances has been sharing her gifts of music and dance as a program volunteer.  She leads ‘Dance with Fran’; a weekly live virtual dance program that brings a lot of joy and accessible movement to our clients and caregivers. You can read more about Frances’ impact below.

The award is presented to nominees with the highest number of votes. Votes can be made once per day until August 21st.  We welcome you to help recognize Frances, by voting:  https://www.toronto.com/things-to-do/contests/2023-urban-hero-awards-people-s-choice-vote/article_5604ff11-5b5a-524e-ae05-f88e97859c13.html?.  

Good luck Frances!


Urban Hero Nomination – Frances Chiappetta

ESS volunteer Fran leading a virtual seated dance program for adult day program clientsThroughout the pandemic and beyond, Frances has shared her gifts of music and dance as a program volunteer in our Adult Day Program for adults and seniors with cognitive impairments.

Frances first came to ESS Support Services as a caregiver.  Her mother was living with Alzheimer’s disease and attending one of our Adult Day programs.  During the pandemic, many seniors lost their in-person day program community, and caregivers their routine respite, as our programs were forced to move online.

Frances’s mother loved to dance.  To honour her memory, and as a way to ‘give back’ to ESS, she decided to become a volunteer and provide an online dance program for the seniors in our day programs, which we fondly call ‘Dance with Fran’.

Using her professional background in singing and dancing in musicals like Cats and Mamma Mia, and work as a choreographer and as a director, Frances developed a one-hour, tailored virtual dance program that is fun, interactive, engaging and safely accessible for all.

Every week, she brings her joy, infectious energy and enthusiasm to her program.  It is evident that Frances always has the seniors’ best interest at heart, and genuinely cares about their wellbeing.  She mindfully chooses suitable movements and music that is lively, up-beat, age appropriate, themed and reminiscent of milestones in our senior client’s lives.

Along with providing a wonderful opportunity of connection through music and exercise for all, Frances’ program also offers an hour of respite for caregivers whose family member joins in virtually.

The members of our day program look forward with anticipation to their weekly live-streamed ‘Dance with Fran’ program and in seeing each other, both virtually and in-person, during her program.  Frances always leaves us with a smile and feeling ‘Frantastic’.

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