Spirit of Community Awards Wrap-Up

Society for Community Development Spirit of Community Awards 2011 Tricities

On Tuesday, September 20 the Society for Community Development presented their Spirit of Community Awards. I attended, and it really was a fabulous event. The awards recognize the extraordinary people who contribute their time, talent and resources to make the Tri-Cities a fabulous place to live. They are truly the unsung heroes of our community, and the awards help to shine a light on their achievements.

Awards were presented in seven categories this year.

2011 Spirit of Community Award Winners

Arts and Culture – Helen Daniels

Helen is the Executive Director for ArtsConnect. For the past 10 years she has worked hard, with support from her Board and volunteers, at finding innovative ways to engage people in the arts. She has played a significant role in a variety of initiatives, including the Wearable Arts Awards, ArtsConnect’s ArtWalk, Swap-o-rama-rama, PechaKucha Night Coquitlam, and many more. She epitomizes ArtsConnect’s mission of connecting people through the arts, and she is a true asset to our community.

Community Action – Soroptomist International of the Tri-Cities

Soroptomist International of the Tri-Cities supports local women who are at risk and / or homeless. In the past three years they have assembled hundreds of hygiene packs, served numerous meals and have been the first organization to support the Homes For Good Society in a “housing first” approach to ending homelessness in our community. They have also engaged in a wide variety of other community work, including An Enchanted Evening, Warm Place for Women, awards programs and a prevention of domestic violence campaign. They also prepare mastectomy cushions for female survivors of breast cancer and support other community initiatives like the Terry Fox Run.

Community Volunteerism – Ron Curties

Ron Curties and his late wife, Tomie, have been residents of Port Moody for many years. As a couple they were present and involved at almost every significant city event. People noticed when they weren’t around because they became well-known, involved and well-loved members of the community. Ron has been involved in his community in many ways, from emceeing the annual Rocky Point Penguin Plunge to founding the Port Moody Curling Club to founding and still actively participating in the Port Moody Lawn Club. Ron is also considered responsible for bringing Santa to Port Moody by boat. Volunteering isn’t something he does in his spare time; volunteering is and always has been his life.

Environment – Vanessa LeBourdais

As the founding Executive Producer of the Port Moody based DreamRider Theatre, Vanessa LeBourdais strives educate our children on environmental issues to create a better place for all of us to live in the future. Through the excitement of live theatre and multi-media, DreamRider introduces the fundamentals of environmental awareness and action to school age children. Vanessa writes, directs, performs and produces plays for DreamRider. The performances’ amazing physical and comedic energy transforms the school audience into a vibrating bundle of joy – ready to learn the environmental lesson shared with them, and laughing, singing and yelling along. Striving to increase the attention paid by children to these issues, Vanessa is currently spearheading a program to create an interactive, game-based, digital/live curriculum for children across Canada to learn and engage with environmental issues.

Neighbour to Neighbour – Chrissy Duncan

Chrissy not only ensures that her neighbourhood in Klahanie is active; she also reaches out and looks after those who have experienced personal tragedy. Through Chrissy’s efforts, there are weekly classes of Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, boot camp, senior’s fitness and more at the local Canoe Club. For moms with small children she has gone that extra step to organize childminding. She seeks out quality instructors, arranges payment, pays instructors, and advertises. Chrissy was the instigator and head coordinator for the Klahanie fundraiser to benefit the family of Charlene Reaverley which raised twelve thousand dollars. She has worked so hard for our community over the past three years and Klahanie is a better place for having her.

Youth – Best Buddies

The Best Buddies program, which operates out of Dr. Charles Best Secondary, helps to build respect and offer support to the homeless of the Tri-Cities. Their stories empower and inspire other youth to become involved in community issues. Together, these students demonstrate that all are worthy of respect and that a small action can make a big difference. Best Buddies is open to all Dr. Charles Best Secondary School students. They organized a cold wet weather mat program for the past two winter seasons. They interact with clients in shelters demonstrating compassion and patience, they created Project Hello to help reconnect homeless people with their families, and they build community acceptance by speaking at public hearings in favour of rezoning properties that would directly benefit people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness.

Douglas College Lifetime of Leadership in Honour of Myrna Popove

It is a rare thing indeed when you have a person as dedicated and willing to sacrifice as Diane Thorne. Her work in our community has helped to create a healthy, vibrant, safe and welcoming place to live. Aside from Diane’s political advocacy for our communities, she has worked tirelessly on behalf of youth who are at risk and vulnerable. In 1993, Diane received the BC Distinguished Service to Families Award and in 1992, the Canada 125 medal. She was a founding member of the award-winning PoCoMo Youth Services Society, the Family Life Educators of BC and the Fraser Burrard Restorative Justice Society. She has supported many groups and individuals in our communities, as a city councillor, MLA, community resident and volunteer. She leads by example and is tireless in her quest. Diane’s accomplishments are numerous. Her dedication and commitment to the Tri-Cities is without question. Her willingness to “be there” for her community is unquestionable.

Congratulations to the winners – and to all of the nominees. You are truly an inspiration!

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