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Awards recipients’ biographies

Wanda Watts, Smithers

Winner of the Award of Distinction, Watts has shown exemplary dedication, innovation and service for more than 25 years of supporting victims of violence and crime. As the victim services program coordinator for Northern Society for Domestic Peace, Watts has developed important inter-agency relationships and helps victims of crime in her rural, northern community by providing individualized services. Watts has most notably been instrumental in developing several community protocols, from sexual assault to the domestic violence court response protocol.

Karyn French, Victoria

Winner of the Services to Victims Award, French has been involved with police-based victim service organizations throughout the Province since 2016. Now as executive director of the Greater Victoria Police Victim Services (GVPVS), she embodies their mission and vision, providing exceptional leadership and dedication to the program. Most notably, French has transitioned GVPVS from a volunteer-based organization to a fully professional service. She has also been integral in leading the Police Victim Services of BC as well.

Meghan Ramsay, Kelowna  

Winner of the Restorative Justice Memorial Award, Ramsay is a vital member of the Boys and Girls Club of the Okanagan. As program co-ordinator of the Youth Restorative Justice Program, Ramsay shows great passion, providing exceptional leadership and support in creating partnerships that educate and spread awareness about restorative justice principles. Particularly throughout the pandemic, Ramsay has championed the Youth Restorative Justice program and helped expand partnerships within the community, where the positive impact of the program is widely seen .

Satbir Cheema, Surrey

Winner of the Safe Communities Award, Cheema has been involved in the work of Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society for more than 19 years. As president and CEO of PICS, Cheema leads an exceptionally committed and dedicated team that provides a range of services to new immigrants, farmworkers, women and youth. Cheema has led the development of numerous community programs and initiatives on racism, drug and gang violence, domestic violence and more.

Mssko Wakil, Burnaby

Winner of the Youth Leadership Award, Wakil has outstanding achievements in supporting vulnerable newcomer youth into BC in her role as a youth case manager at MOSAIC and co-ordinator of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Youth Branch. Through leadership training and promoting volunteerism, Wakil supports youth to engage in the community and become leaders, inspiring them to have a positive impact. She plays a vital role in providing them with a bright future in their new country.

Aaron Pete, Chilliwack

The first winner of the Emerging Leaders Award, Pete works as a Native Court worker with the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC. Since January 2018, Pete has been building relationships with criminal justice stakeholders and has been very passionate in his role. Notably, he’s currently working independently with the Chilliwack courthouse to conduct Indigenous cultural awareness training to staff, bringing awareness of the history of Indian residential schools, the '60s Scoop, and colonization, including the impacts on Indigenous Peoples today. Pete is focused on teaching people why greater sensitivity and understanding are needed for individuals working with Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system.