Congratulations to all of this year’s Hidden Heroes Award winners! So pleased to see our diverse range of Heroes receive the recognition for all the incredible work they do for our community.
Richard Alexander, has been Chair of the University Neighbourhood Association (UNA) for five years. Other board members often see him as a mentor, and applaud his active facilitation during board meetings, his professionalism when dealing with difficult issues, and his diligent work ethic and outstanding leadership.
Suzanne Barois has volunteered with BTCEA for over ten years, made countless contributions to BTCEA curricula and programs, and helped bring environmental education to thousands across Metro Vancouver. Additionally, Suzanne is a leader at the Catholic Parish of St. Mark’s Hospitality Ministry, a captain of her local Blockwatch since 1996, and for ten years hosted an annual Clothing Exchange at her home, where local women traded and donated clothing to local charities.
Alice and Nils Bradley are UNA’s volunteer power-couple, both heavily involved with numerous UNA programs and events and inspired many others to do the same. Alice volunteers for several UNA committees and tutors English. Nil also helped advise Wesbrook Community Centre’s senior program.
Pamela Donald volunteers countless hours at the Hospice Opportunity Boutique – a 100% volunteer operated organization. At the HOB, as it’s known to the Kerrisdale community, Pam helps sort and price incoming donated clothing and accessories, ensuring they are suitable for sale so all proceedings can go towards supporting the Vancouver Hospice Society (VHS).
Nicholas Grabe volunteers with UBC’s Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP), a non-profit society providing free legal advice and representation to underprivileged clients. As Operations Director in 2017, Nicholas was responsible for the management, funding and client-booking of over a dozen legal clinics across the Lower Mainland and organized over 100 volunteers for them – all while being a full-time law student.
Peter Graham-Gaudreau is well-known in our community for his activism and for bringing people together through music and entertainment. He regularly performs to help raise awareness and funds for local organizations and causes that range from Walk for AIDs Vancouver and the WISH foundation, to helping Syrian refugees and tackling bullying among youth. His genuine enthusiasm for community engagement is contagious.
Cathryn Guo is a local youth leader and volunteer. Involved with a long list of initiatives, programs, and events, she’s amassed over 250 hours of community service in 3 years with the UNA alone and continues to look for more opportunities to serve.
Vince Helton contributes his extensive expertise in irrigation to the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project at UBC Farm, a community project that brings together elders, youth, and children to learn, plant, tend, harvest, cook, and eat healthy food together.. At 96 years old, he teaches watering workshops to adults and children, and graciously mentored staff on designing and installing the farm’s irrigation system extension.
Maureen Jack-LaCroix is the Founding Director of Be the Change Earth Alliance (BTCEA), an organization that, through education, empowers behavioural and systemic change towards global sustainability. An environmental educator and advocate, Maureen left her successful career as a special event producer to dedicate her time and knowledge to environmental education, volunteering over 13,000 hours to BTCEA.
A successful businessman, Mike Jagger is a stalwart contributer to his Kerrisdale community. He is an active supporter and donor of Kerrisdale Little League, which engages over 500 youth (aged 4 to 12) and their families through baseball. In Elm Park where the Little League teams play, Mike’s business co-sponsors the hugely popular, free outdoor movie nights every summer. In addition, Mike is a key and longstanding member of the Kerrisdale Business Association.
Elizabeth Kerklaan is a long-time board member and volunteer with First United Church’s Social Housing Society and Community Ministry Society. She organizes the annual golf tournament for the homeless and volunteers in the foot soak program for those experiencing homelessness, and is a much-appreciated volunteer supporter of the David Suzuki Fooundation.
Carol-Ann Kunimoto is a community advocate, volunteer and a strong believer in every individual’s capacity to make a positive impact on their community. Carol-Ann helps organize the annual Gutsy Walk, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s largest single day fundraiser. She also volunteers with Elephanatics, a local group fighting to end the ivory trade, and Blue Dot, which is part of the David Suzuki Foundation.
Tracey Lee has been a volunteer debate coach for 18 years. Most notably, she led Team Canada to win the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) in 2010. She also heads many international and Canadian debate organizations as a volunteer, in addition to her job as a teacher and head counsellor. Because of Tracey’s hard work, more youth are involved in debate in Vancouver Quadra, in Canada, and around the world.
Jolina Li is a star member of the Vancouver Quadra Constituency Youth Council and an engaged community volunteer. She is involved with multiple organizations, including Leaders of Hope, whose volunteers play music for senior citizens and community members, Youth Achieving Success, a youth empowerment group, Great Brothers of Greater Vancouver, and Keep Vancouver Spectacular, which organizes neighbourhood cleanups.
Colleen McGuinness Volunteer President of the Dunbar Residents’ Association (DRA), Colleen edits the DRA Monthly Newsletter and manages the Dunbar community email list, facilitating active communications channels within the community. She also helps develop business and cultural relations between the sister cities of Vancouver and Guangzhou. Lastly, Colleen is the Chair of the Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee, recently serving on the Engaged City Task Force.
At 93 years old, Ruth McLellan is an energetic volunteer and leader at the Dunbar Ryerson United Church (DRUC) where she was the first woman to Chair the board. Ruth has had many roles over the years, from chairing various committees to helping with monthly luncheons and the biannual thrift sale. She has also been a member of P.E.O., a philanthropic organization that supports women’s education globally, for 73 years.
Bob Meyer serves as President of the Board of the BC Crisis Centre. He began volunteering in July 2005, speaking with hundreds of people in distress over the 24/7 hotline. Bob has also volunteered with palliative care at VGH and the Union Gospel Mission, and is currently a member of the Pacific Sprit Park Society Board.
Vicki and Pitman Potter founded the Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry in 2008 and have been driving forces behind it ever since. In addition to its original purpose of delivering food and company to the homeless, its mobile care unit now supports UBC doctors and students in offering medical advice and social work support. Most recently, the Ministry helped 15 people get accepted to Marpole’s modular housing complex.
Ellen Querengesser is a long-time small grants project leader, utilizing these resources to organize neighbourhood cleanups and other volunteer projects. She also helps organize Kitsilano Car Free Days and volunteers for the community pillar, Kitsilano Neighbourhood House.
Michelle Rooney plans and coordinates activities for the St. Georges Junior School Beaver Scout pack in the Dunbar Southlands area. Coordinating with other packs, Michelle devotes many hours to helping the young people learn more about local history, geography, and nature.
Since 2015, Judy Schmidt has volunteered to help design and facilitate the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project at UBC Farm, a community project that brings together elders, youth, and children to learn, plant, tend, harvest, cook, and eat healthy food together. As a Master Gardener, Judy contributes her extensive knowledge and experience, as well as a passion for land and food systems and community. This year, she looks forward to working on the new Landed Learning Indigenous Education Program.
Lawyer and mediator by day, Shamim Shivji stepped down as volunteer President of the West Point Grey Community Association earlier this year after seven years on the board. As President, she served a critical role in negotiating the new Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with the Parks Board. This summer she decided to pursue community service in another capacity, and ran for Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner.
JoJo Zhang is an active student volunteer and leader from Lord Byng Secondary. She’s a Vancouver Quadra Constituency Youth Council member, an experienced cello player in her student orchestra, and a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, to name just a few of her volunteer activities.
© 2019 Joyce Murray. All rights reserved.