Victoria – Three outstanding youth, a dedicated 45-year volunteer and two organizations committed to promoting first languages are among those being recognized for their excellent work on behalf of B.C.’s vulnerable children and youth.
In announcing the winners of the fifth annual Awards of Excellence, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, said this year’s recipients are symbolic of the high standards and incredible service that people who work with children and youth in British Columbia have come to represent.
This year’s honourees also include an advocate who works with women and children leaving abusive relationships, a holistic housing program for homeless youth with mental health and substance abuse issues, and a foster parent who works to build connected communities.
“It continually amazes me what these extraordinary people and organizations do in their communities,” said Turpel-Lafond. “They are constantly pushing the boundaries with innovative and exciting ideas and programs and giving all they have to provide children and youth with the opportunities to find their place in the world and move forward with encouragement and support.”
The recipients of the 2012 Awards of Excellence are:
Youth Leadership Award (three winners):
Jordan Arcand, Vancouver
a 17-year-old Aboriginal youth who is already a leader on the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) Youth Advisory Committee.
Ashley Frerichs, Victoria
a young woman who is determined and passionate about taking her past experiences with Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and using them to make a difference in her community.
Jessica Horrocks, Victoria
an 18-year-old honours student who spent much of her time volunteering at school and in the community for causes she believed in – who is now spending a year abroad continuing to volunteer.
Service Provider Award:
Mitchel du Plessi, Victoria
a foster parent and youth and family counselor who believes that building communities and empowering relationships are the heart of positive change for children and youth.
Cultural Heritage and Diversity Award (co-winners):
Burnaby Public Library, Burnaby
an initiative from the Burnaby Public Library that is celebrating cultural diversity of newcomer families through songs and rhymes in 15 different languages.
First Peoples’ Cultural Council, Brentwood Bay
an Aboriginal agency that combines traditional learning and language with modern technology to encourage First Nations youth to learn their Indigenous languages.
Andrea Vollans, YWCA, Vancouver
a legal educator who provides direct assistance to women and children leaving abusive situations and works collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to advocate for the safety and well-being of women and children.
Innovative Services Award:
Urban Youth Program, Pacific Community Resources Society (Broadway Youth Resource Centre) a housing program that provides a comprehensive, age-appropriate continuum of supports that takes into account the developmental stages of young people and the reality of frequent substance abuse, diagnosis and intervention.
Lifetime Achievement Award:
Dr. Jean Moore, Vancouver
a woman who has volunteered on numerous boards and committees with organizations across Canada working for social change for more than 45 years.
Award winners will be honoured at a celebratory luncheon on Nov. 22, 2012 at the Chief and Petty Officers’ Mess, CFB Esquimalt in Victoria from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Cell: 250 217 7280
Office: 250 356 7713
Backgrounders attached for award winners.