VANCOUVER - Premier Christy Clark and Keith Mitchell, chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, today named this year's recipients of the B.C. Community Achievement Awards.
"Communities are built by people who step up to the plate and contribute," said Premier Christy Clark. "On behalf of all British Columbians, I would like to thank and congratulate the outstanding individuals named today for their contributions. British Columbia's biggest strength is people like them."
"The community achievement awards honour individuals who have made a significant contribution either as volunteers or in the course of their work," said Mitchell. "We're privileged to showcase and celebrate the contributions of these exceptional British Columbians."
The recipients of the 2013 awards are:
- Dr. Jeannette Armstrong of Penticton
- Patricia Blair of Victoria
- Helen Boyd of Comox
- Mel Coulson of Quick
- Douglas Crow of Victoria
- John De Forest of Surrey
- Mary Forbes of Williams Lake
- Jean Gelwicks of Salt Spring Island
- Afraj Gill of Surrey
- Leonora Gregory-Collura of Gibsons
- Kathy Holmes of Ladysmith
- Maggie and Kelly Ip of Vancouver
- Mike Jang of Vancouver
- Ingrid Jeffrey of Coquitlam
- Margo Kane of Vancouver
- Susan Lane of White Rock
- Chief Jason Louie of Creston
- Tom Lymbery of Gray Creek * Phyllis MacPherson of Lake Country
- Amrit Maharaj of Vancouver
- Kelly Mann of Victoria
- Dr. James McEwen of Vancouver
- Lennette McLean of Dease Lake
- John McQuade of Delta
- Brianne Moore of Kelowna
- Libby Nelson of Fruitvale
- Janet Renquist of Prince George
- Sherri Robinson of Esquimalt
- Aminollah Sabzevari of North Vancouver
- Donald Shumka of Vancouver
- Marnie Simon of Pemberton
- Karen Stacey of Vancouver
- Andrea Thomas Hill of Vancouver
- Catherine Van Alstine of West Vancouver
- Sing Lim Yeo of Vancouver
An independent advisory council selects the recipients of the British Columbia Community Achievement Awards. This year's council members are Mayor Mike Clay of Port Moody, Mayor Shari Green of Prince George, and past recipients Don Montgomery of Richmond (2009), Joyce Carlson of Powell River (2009) and Jane Frost of Vancouver (2006).
The recipients of the 2013 British Columbia Community Achievement Awards will be recognized in a formal presentation at Government House in Victoria on March 14, 2013. Each will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by B.C. artist Robert Davidson.
The British Columbia Community Achievement Awards are generously sponsored by Postmedia Network, publishers of The Vancouver Sun and The Province.
The British Columbia Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established and endowed by the province of B.C. to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service. Launched in 2003, the awards were the first initiative of the foundation, followed by the B.C. Creative Achievement Award for Applied Art and Design, B.C.'s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the B.C. Creative Achievement Award for First Nations' Art, and the B.C. Aboriginal Business Awards.
A backgrounder follows.
Office of the Premier
BC Achievement Foundation
Learn more about the BC Achievement Foundation at: www.bcachievement.com
BACKGROUNDERBiographies of 2013 Recipients
Jeannette Armstrong, Penticton
Artist, scholar and writer, Jeannette Armstrong from the Syilx Okanagan Nation was one of the founders and is the director of the En'owkin Centre, an interdisciplinary fine arts school that fosters Indigenous identity through the arts. Dr. Armstrong is recognized as a mentor and a visionary and one of British Columbia's great leaders and educators.
Patricia Blair, Victoria
Patricia Blair is critical to the success of the Victoria Operatic Society. Her enthusiasm, resourcefulness and commitment to the non-profit society is demonstrated with every production. Sewing costumes, painting sets, distributing programmes, Patricia, at 91, is also the society's leading ticket seller.
Helen Boyd, Comox
A registered nurse and mental health and addictions therapist, Helen Boyd established a vital program for the homeless in her community. She created and now oversees and volunteers for the Care-a-Van program, a mobile health-care unit which under the auspices of the Comox Bay Care Society brings medical attention to disenfranchised members of the community.
Mel Coulson, Quick
Retired civil engineer, Mel Coulson has contributed his expertise, energy and leadership to three major heritage restoration projects in the Bulkley Valley. The Old Church Project, The Round Lake Hall Renovation and the Camp Caledonia Restoration are all lasting legacies of Mel's dedication to his community.
Douglas Crow, Victoria
A valued and dedicated volunteer, peer mentor and ambassador for the CNIB on Vancouver Island, Doug Crow has worked tirelessly to support individuals facing the challenges of vision loss or low vision. He coordinates the Peer Counselling team, trains and mentors counselors, and provides one on one peer support.
John De Forest, Surrey
John De Forest has been a lifelong volunteer. It is his contributions to the Historic Stewart Farm in Surrey and Burnaby Village Museum for which he is being honoured. For 17 years, he undertook improvements and restoration to Burnaby Village's industrial collections and vintage vehicles and, today, at 92, he is an exhibition guide at the farm and a member of the Barn Committee.
Mary Forbes, Williams Lake
Mary Forbes' passion for her community is reflected in the many sustainable projects in which she is involved. From the Scout Island Nature and Interpretive Centre to the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society's Waste Wise Program to her leadership and the facilitation of the restoration of Potato House and its community garden, Mary is a dynamic presence in her community.
Jean Gelwicks, Salt Spring Island
Environmental stewardship is the focus of Jean Gelwicks' extraordinary contributions to Salt Spring Island. Transition Salt Spring, Partners Creating Pathways, Salt Spring Island Conservancy and its Stewards in Training program, are examples of her commitment to better her community.
Afraj Gill, Surrey
Now a student at Queen's University School of Business, Afraj Gill is being honoured for his leadership and volunteer contributions during his high school years in Surrey. Afraj, a role model for youth volunteerism and engagement, was involved in all aspects of school life and contributed enthusiastically to non-profit organizations in his community.
Leonora Gregory-Collura, Gibsons
Through her consulting company Naturally Autistic ANCA, Leonora has given autism a voice in British Columbia. She has created unique programs and an annual awards' event and festival that showcases collaborations with the mainstream and autistic communities.
Kathy Holmes, Ladysmith
Kathy Holmes strengthens her community by volunteering her skills in marketing and project management. From the annual Home and Garden Show to Oktoberfest, Ladysmith Days, Paddlefest and the Waterfront Art Centre Gallery, Kathy makes a significant contribution to the betterment of her community.
Maggie and Kelly Ip, Vancouver
For the past 40 years, Maggie and Kelly Ip have been leaders in social services, education, culture, multiculturalism and civic engagement. Maggie was founding chair of SUCCESS and continues today as the chair of its foundation. Maggie was founding president of the BC Heritage Languages Association and has served on the boards of the YWCA, United Way, BC Multicultural Society and the Vancouver Public Library. Kelly is past president of the Canadian Club and has served on the boards of SUCCESS, the Vancouver Society for Asian Arts, the Telus Community Board, BC Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of Seniors, and Chinatown Millennium Society.
Mike Jang, Vancouver
Mike Jang is a community leader and role model. He has initiated events and programs that promote multiculturalism and the well-being of the Chinese Canadian community through his leadership of the Shon Yee Benevolent Association of Canada, the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver and the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver.
Ingrid Jeffrey, Coquitlam
A speech language pathologist, Ingrid Jeffrey is dedicated to children with physical, mental and educational special needs. Ingrid helped to found the Variety Learning Centre over 20 years ago, and in 2003, she was the driving force behind the creation of the Mediated Learning Academy in Coquitlam, a full-time school that today serves 150 young people with special educational requirements.
Margo Kane, Vancouver
In 1992, Cree-Salteaux performing artist Margo Kane founded Full Circle: First Nations Performance. As artistic director, Margo has created work that is both socially relevant and empowering through initiatives such as the Talking Stick Festival and Workshops in Schools Series. Through music, dance, theatre, storytelling and the spoken word, Margo shares Aboriginal culture and traditions with all generations.
Susan Lane, White Rock
Susan Lane is a renowned speech-language pathologist whose work has had a lasting impact on young, deaf, and hard of hearing children. Susan served as executive director of the BC Family Hearing Resource Centre and is now the Provincial Intervention Coordinator for the BC Early Hearing Program.
Chief Jason Louie, Creston
Jason Louie, Chief of the Lower Kootenay Band, builds cultural and economic bridges in the Creston Valley. He shares and teaches the traditions of his First Nation, not only with the youth of the band, but with the wider community fostering awareness and knowledge. Chief Louie creates positive relationships and contributes successfully to an open community throughout the region.
Tom Lymbery, Gray Creek
For over 50 years, Tom Lymbery has been vital to the growth and development of Gray Creek and the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. From the chamber of commerce, the Trans Canada Trail, Gray Creek Historical Society, community celebrations, East Shore Health Board to the Gray Creek Store, he is unwavering in his dedication to his community.
Phyllis MacPherson, Lake Country
An extraordinary and longtime community volunteer, Phyllis MacPherson is responsible for the Lake Country Food Bank that now serves 8,400 people annually. Phyllis fundraises and co-ordinates this community resource, ensuring that the food bank is always staffed and provisioned. Phyllis is also an active member of the Lake Country Seniors' Club, Wheels to Meals and the Art Walk.
Amrit Maharaj, Vancouver
Since 2005, Amrit Maharaj has donated countless hours of service to the Canuck Place Children's Hospice in Vancouver. He is a Family Support Volunteer helping patients and families and serves as a mentor and trainer in the volunteer program. Amrit also supports the UBC Meal Exchange Program, the Ripple Effect Society and Habitat for Humanity.
Kelly Mann, Victoria
Kelly Mann is president and CEO of the BC Games Society where he oversees the BC Summer and Winter Games, working with members of host community boards to provide a multi-sport games experience for thousands of athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers. His leadership, his dedication to the benefits of sport and his commitment to British Columbia communities is exemplary.
James McEwen, Vancouver
Business leader and mentor, Dr. James McEwen is the driving force behind the growth of the MDDC Medical Device Development Centre in Vancouver, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping medical device companies from B.C. succeed in the invention, development, manufacturing and sale of home-grown B.C. devices on the world market.
Lennette McLean, Dease Lake
Lennette McLean has contributed significantly to healthy living in the rural communities of Dease Lake, Telegraph, Iskut and the Tahltan Nation. From initiatives that include libraries, the Parent Advisory Council and Moms and Tot group, Lennette has also been instrumental in the building of the Dease Lake Recreation Centre, a focal point for the communities.
John McQuade, Delta
John McQuade has generously volunteered his time to his community. Most recently, he was Director of Volunteers for the 2012 BC Seniors Games and was also volunteer organizer for the World Police and Fire Games held in 2009. A retired Burnaby firefighter, John has also volunteered for the Edmonds Canada Day celebrations, A Taste of Edmonds, the Terry Fox Run and the St. Michael's Centre.
Brianne Moore, Kelowna
An outstanding student leader, Brianne Moore organizes a wide range of school events to create an atmosphere of spirit and caring. The Global Service Club, the Me to We organization, District Student Council and District Forum are examples of Brianne's commitment to making a difference.
Libby Nelson, Fruitvale
Libby Nelson is a civic and regional leader in the West Kootenay area. She served as mayor of Fruitvale for 15 years, on the West Kootenay Regional Health Board, chaired school district 20 board of trustees, and was a director of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. Libby is also a strong voice for families and youth, a philanthropist and humanitarian.
Janet Renquist, Prince George
Janet Renquist is a dedicated volunteer in Prince George. A refugee from Uganda in 1989, Janet has used her experiences as a newcomer to Canada to assist and support immigrant and refugee families who have settled in the North. She is a pioneer member of the African Heritage Society and is a valued supporter and resource for the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George.
Sherri Robinson, Esquimalt
Sherri Robinson is a steward and advocate for the history of the Township of Esquimalt. She was instrumental in creating the municipal archives in 1983 to which she has given over 42,000 hours of volunteer time over the past 30 years. Sherri is passionate about ensuring that Esquimalt's history and heritage is preserved for its future.
Aminollah Sabzevari, North Vancouver
Now a graduate student at the University of Alberta, Amin has demonstrated tremendous initiative and commitment to his extracurricular and volunteer activities through his university years in BC. Tutoring, peer mentoring, event organization and leadership are qualities he has given to many organizations and projects at the University of British Columbia.
Donald Shumka, Vancouver
Don Shumka serves B.C.'s cultural community with distinction as a leader, philanthropist and an advocate. On the board of governors of Ballet BC from 1992-2003, he was critical to the organization's growth and success. He also chaired the British Columbia Arts Council from 2002 to 2009. Don now chairs the Emily Carr University of Art + Design Foundation.
Marnie Simon, Pemberton
Chair of the Whistler Public Library, Marnie is dedicated to organizations that serve both Whistler and Pemberton. She is a director of the Pemberton Seniors Society, past chair of the Whistler Healthcare Foundation and chair of the Friends of the Library Pemberton. Marnie is a role model for volunteerism in the Sea to Sky corridor.
Karen Stacey, Vancouver
Founder and president of the Happy Liver Society, Karen works to support affordable accommodation close to Vancouver General Hospital for liver transplant recipients. Karen helps educate the general public about liver diseases, fundraises for the society and provides moral support for patients in recovery and for those on the waiting list.
Andrea Thomas Hill, Vancouver
Andrea Thomas Hill founded the Cause We Care Foundation, an organization of women that supports single women and children living in poverty. Andrea spearheaded outreach initiatives and further, recognizing the necessity of housing, partnered with the YWCA, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Public Library to establish the YWCA Cause We Care House in the downtown eastside, slated to open in 2014.
Catherine Van Alstine, West Vancouver
Catherine Van Alstine demonstrates an unwavering commitment to her community, giving generously of her time and expertise. Arts Umbrella, YMCA Vancouver, United Way of the Lower Mainland, Women United in Philanthropy and the BC Chapter of Breakfast Clubs of Canada are examples of community organizations in which she has taken a leadership role.
Sing Lim Yeo, Vancouver
Sing Lim Yeo is a leader, philanthropist and lifelong volunteer. Vice chair of the Chinese Cultural Community of Greater Vancouver and SUCCESS, Sing Lim Yeo is also on the executive committee for the St. John's Ambulance Richmond Branch, on the board of the Tapestry Foundation for Healthcare and founder and director of the Canadian Realtors Care Foundation.
Office of the Premier
BC Achievement Foundation
Learn more about the BC Achievement Foundation at: www.bcachievement.com