Moira Stilwell, MLA for Vancouver-Langara, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, will present Abbe Gates, a well-known Vancouver citizen, with the province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.
The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 10 in the Burrard Room of the Century Plaza at 1015 Burrard St.
Launched in July 2015 by Premier Clark, the prestigious Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.
Gates will be honoured with the medal for spearheading initiatives aimed at improving life experiences and inclusion for children, teens and young adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Through her fundraising efforts and ability to bring a community together, Gates founded a soccer sporting team and has created social experiences that have empowered people with special needs all over the Lower Mainland and nearby communities.
Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering have been focused on gathering the support, monies and resources required for hundreds of players with a variety of developmental and other disabilities, aged four years and up, to play soccer. Nine years later, the Blazin’ Soccer Dogs and Pups, along with the Rain City Wolves, have provided enriching, inclusive and confidence-boosting experiences for participants.
Gates has also served on the Down Syndrome Research Foundation board and was an effective fundraiser for the organization. More recently, she is is an active volunteer helping to promote autism awareness and the creation of the Pacific Autism Family Centre.
Among her many other contributions, Gates annually mounts The Night to Remember Gala, which provides an annual dance and red-carpet experience to more than 150 young people, aged 15 to 35 years, with development disabilities. As well, she helped establish a social group for teens through the Vancouver Parks board, called Friday Friends. She is now collectively working on establishing the same kind of program for all these young people who are now adults.
Gates is among a select group of British Columbians who will receive the Medal of Good Citizenship.
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia –
“Few people can match Abbe Gates’ passion, dedication and energy. The list of causes and events she has donated her time and talents to is humbling, but even more impressive is the difference she continues to make in the lives of people with special needs.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, and chair of the Medal of Good Citizenship Selection Committee –
“There are many people who generously volunteer their time, effort and skills to make their community better and this honour acknowledges their excellence, achievement and service. The time spent reviewing nominations was inspiring, and it reinforced to me that we live in a province where each and every day citizens can make a difference through their generosity and selflessness.”
Moira Stilwell, MLA for Vancouver-Langara –
“Abbe Gates is a real unsung hero, having selflessly given her time and talents to causes that have made Vancouver a better place. I can’t think of more deserving recipient of the Medal of Good Citizenship.”
Abbe Gates, Medal of Good Citizenship recipient –
“My story is very simple. Both my kids have special needs and I started to see how few opportunities for them were out there so I created my own. I created a Friday get-together program, since there was nothing for my teenaged daughter and her friends. When my daughter was turned away from our local soccer team for having Down Syndrome, I then created my own soccer team. I am not one to stand back and just walk away, I do something about it, and I will continue until my last breath. I am just a mom, I only want what my kids and all the others deserve, and that’s to be treated equally.”
- The Medal of Good Citizenship was launched in 2015 to recognize individuals who, through exceptional long-term volunteer efforts, have made outstanding contributions to the well-being of their communities.
- Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.
- All regions in the province were represented on the Medal of Good Citizenship Selection Committee and members came from various professional backgrounds.
- More than 220 nominations were reviewed.
- Additional medal presentation ceremonies will be held throughout the province in the coming months.
To learn more about the medal, or to nominate a good citizen in your community, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/medalofgoodcitizenship
To view photos of recipient ceremonies, visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHskw9MKjm