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- Richard has been the University Neighborhood Association (UNA) Board Chair for 5 years. The UNA has achieved and grown a lot through his strategic and visionary leadership. Richard has always been a mentor for other board members and is good at facilitation board meetings and is diligent and professional when dealing with difficult issues. He has also played a large role in organization of Fiesta Days.
Nils & Alice Bradley- Alice and Nils are one of the most active volunteer couples in Vancouver Quadra. Alice has been involved in many of the programs with the University Neighborhoods Association (UNA) including the UNA Multicultural Committee, Seniors and Friends, UNA Collection Night, UNA Cooking workshop, UNA Book Club etc. Also, Alice is volunteer English tutor at the UNA Community centre. Alice has inspired so many others being volunteer to our community, including her husband Nil. The couple have contributed huge to our community all those years. Nils was a member of the UNA Seniors Working Group advising the program planning for seniors before the opening of Wesbrook Community centre. He has helped all sorts of events including UNA Barn Raiding, Seniors Meet-n-Greet, Guys Night, Photos with Santa. He is currently leading Mah Jong and Seniors Open Gym at Wesbrook Community Center.
Pamela Donald- Pam volunteers at The HOB (Hospice Opportunity Boutique) in Kerrisdale. The revenue from the goods at the HOB support the Vancouver Hospice Society (VHS). Incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 2003, VHS advocates for people and families facing end-of-life issues. In 2014, after 10 years of fundraising through the charity shops, events and the support of generous donors, they were able to build their own hospice. They are 100% volunteer operated and all of their proceeds support the organization. Pam works very hard at The HOB, sorting and pricing the donated clothes and ensuring that they are all suitable for sale.
Nicholas Grabe– Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) is a non-profit society run by law students at the University of British Columbia. They provide free legal advice and representation to clients who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance. As the Operations Director for LSLAP in 2017, Nicholas organized over a hundred volunteer clinicians spread out over more than a dozen clinics across the Lower Mainland, including a number within Vancouver Quadra, and was responsible for managing all of our clinics, including staffing, securing venues and funding, and booking clients. On top of his duties as Operations Director, Nicholas represented a record number of clients as a volunteer clinician, helping numerous people who could not otherwise afford legal assistance receive free and effective legal representation. All of this work was volunteered by Nicholas throughout the school year on top of his commitments as a full-time student at the Peter A. Allard School of Law. Finally, Nicholas continues to give ongoing support to his successor as Operations Director, ensuring a smooth transition and a continuity of experience for the program.
Peter Graham-Gaudreau- Peter is engaged in our community, bringing together people to participate in political activism and community activities. He brings his stilt-walking and entertainment skills to support events such as car-free days and street festivals, divestment rallies, Get-Out-The-Vote and Jericho Beach Clean-up efforts. As a musician, Peter lends his talents to entertaining residents at senior centres, hospices and long-term care facilities, and raises awareness and/or funds for many non-profits – WISH Drop-In Centre, Quest Outreach Society, Vancouver AIDS Walk, Farm Folk City Folk, and many more. His all-ages and often free performances are focused on including families with children, and community members with challenges. Every December since 2001, Peter and his family have hosted a caroling concert, inviting members of the community and their children to interact and participate, while raising funds in support of WISH. Peter was a Big Brother for many years and still maintains a strong connection with his ‘Little Brother’ Brian. In 2013, he collaborated with a teacher and her students at Bayview Elementary School, engaging the class in brainstorming, writing and performing their own song about bullying. Along with his many and varied film and tv roles, Peter starred in a series of popular local short films by a group of volunteer BC filmmakers opposed to oil tankers on the BC Coast. Peter’s activism is not limited to his local community – he used his 2017 album launch to bring awareness to three important charities that work around the world: The Kurdi Foundation, Music Seeds International and Playground Builders.
Cathryn Guo- Cathryn wears many hats, some of which include high school senior, community volunteer, youth leader, teaching assistant, sister and role model. She has a very long list of community contributions that include her years of commitment to the Youth Leadership Program, her volunteer work at events, her support of a local anti-bike theft initiative and her hours of work as an art class teaching assistant. Cathryn has amassed over 250 hours of community service since 2015, with the UNA alone. When asked for help, or if she would like to try working a new role – her answer is almost always “yes”. When asked “why” her answer is short, concise and softly spoken: “I like to help”.
Vince Helton- Vince has volunteered with the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project at UBC Farm for several years. Vince was always happy to help with his own area of expertise, irrigation. Without it Vince’s irrigation system our plants would be struggling and our staff would be hand watering the garden to this day! He developed a short workshop to help all children and adults in the project learn a bit more about how to water well for healthy plants with deep roots. He even drew up his own beautiful poster to illustrate his points. At 96 years old, Vince still helps the project in many ways. In recent years he has mentored our staff so that they are now much more knowledgeable about irrigation, and helped us to design and install an extension for our irrigation system. He continues to share stories and ideas to keep Landed Learning going strong. He’s a man full of heart and we’re so grateful for all the adult and children’s lives that he has impacted!
Maureen Jack-LaCroix- A passionate environmental educator and advocate for social change, active community volunteer, Founding Director of Be The Change Earth Alliance, and PhD student of Environmental Education at S.F.U., Maureen models a passion for life-long learning and social responsibility in thought, word and deed. Her creative and collaborative leadership has broken new ground for socio-ecological sustainability through her visionary community and school education programs, that open one’s heart and mind to an inter-connected world view that inspires environmental behaviour change. Maureen left a successful career as a special event producer to dedicate her considerable talents to bringing environmental education to our community and schools, volunteering over 13,000 hours to this worthy cause. Her steadfast commitment to ‘be the change’ is an inspiration to teachers and students alike, encouraging them to gain knowledge, set goals and rise to meet their personal and social responsibility.
Mike Jagger- While in his early 20’s, Mike Jagger started his own Kerrisdale business and watched it grow to international success. As such, Mike has always felt a strong commitment to give back to the Kerrisdale community and his volunteer activities on behalf of the local community seem to have no bounds. He has been a long-time supporter of Kerrisdale Little League which connects young families in our community around a love of baseball. Together with 5 other districts in the BC Little League, more than 12,000 youth (aged 4-12) learn how to play baseball and participate in a team sport. Through a variety of volunteer roles over the years, Mike has tirelessly supported Kerrisdale Little League and has modeled the principles of sportmanship, teamwork and resilience. Kerrisdale Little League galvanizes hundreds of parent volunteers in our community – coaches, team and canteen managers, field workers, etc – who work tirelessly weeknights and to ensure a great experience for our children. Mike’s can-do attitude has made him a key and longstanding member of the Kerrisdale Business Association which promotes local businesses and fosters a safe and friendly environment. He co-sponsors Kerrisdale’s hugely popular summertime outdoor movie at Elm Park drawing crowds of up to 800 – providing security, first aide and most importantly, free popcorn. The Provident Security slide is a big hit with kids at community events in Kerrsidale and beyond.
Elizabeth Kerklaan- Elizabeth is a long time board member and volunteer with both First United Church Social Housing Society and First United Church Community Ministry Society. She currently chairs First United Church Social Housing Society, and is on the board of First United Church Community Ministry Society and is Director of the annual golf tournament for the homeless. In addition, she is also a faithful volunteer in the foot soak program – helping homeless folks on the DTES soak their feet and have conversation, rest and interaction.
Carol-Ann Kunimoto– Carol-Ann has been passionately involved with the Gutsy Walk (for Crohn’s & Colitis) for many years helping to organize their large annual event and she is also involved with Elephanatics (a local group fighting to end the ivory trade). In addition to these she has also been volunteering with Blue Dot, the David Suzuki Foundation’s environmental rights campaign, since last summer. Carol-Ann always seems to find time to help despite demands pulling her in several directions. Carol-Ann believes so strongly in the importance of making a positive impact in her community and the difference it will make for Canadians that she is willing to dive into uncomfortable or challenging tasks without hesitation.
Tracey Lee- Tracey has been a debate coach for the past 18 years. She coached Team Canada Debate from 2009-2011, leading the 2010 team when it won the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC). She is the Chair of the Canadian Worlds committee and an adjudicator at WSDC since 2005. She heads the Worlds Schools Debating organization as the Chair of the non-profit Board (WSDC Ltd) and is the president of the Pan American Debating Organization that promotes debate in the Americas. She has served as the president of the provincial association, as well as the Canadian Student Debate Federation Director and a Canadian National Debating Championships Board member. Everything Tracey does for debate is volunteer work. She manages all of these international committees, on top of working a day job as a teacher and head counsellor at school. She sets up workshops for public school students who cannot afford coaching. Last year, she hosted the senior, junior, and French national debating championships in Vancouver! Without her selfless work, debate in Canada and, quite literally, around the world, would not be the same. She is truly a leader in our community and a hero to so many of her students.
Jolina Li- Jolina is a star member of the Vancouver Quadra CYC and is always willing to lend a hand with the council’s many projects. Jolina is very active and engaged member of the Lord Byng school community. She is involved with the Leaders of Hope group that plays music for senior citizens and other members of the community. Next, Jolina participates in the Create Change and TED Ed clubs where she contributions innovative ideas to group discussions. Outside of school, she volunteers with YAS, an organization that strives to help youth reach their full potential. Big Brothers is another organization Jolina volunteers with because she enjoys working with kids to help them achieve their best. Lastly, Jolina participates in KVS which helps keep our neighbourhood clean.
Colleen McGuinness- Colleen is the President of the Dunbar Residents’ Association (DRA) – and has been for many years. She also edits and contributes lead articles to the DRA Monthly Newsletter which is distributed to households in the area. She heads the Seniors Committee of the DRA. Colleen manages the email listserv for the Dunbar community is the only one to have such an email list. She has served on the Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee since 2010 and has been chair since 2015. Colleen recently served as co-Chair on the Vancouver Seniors Advisory Committee and Engaged City Task Force. She has been involved for many years with development of business and cultural relationships between the sister cities of Vancouver & Guangzhou, and of the sister provinces of BC & Guangdong. She has served as the Executive Director of the BC Guangdong Business Council and at the Vancouver Guangzhou Friendship Society, and was a past president of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society, a Trustee of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and the City of Vancouver Chinatown Area Planning Advisory Committee.
Ruth McLellan- Ruth is a 94 year old Kerrisdale resident who is currently volunteering at the reception desk of the Dunbar Ryerson United Church (DRUC). She does pastoral care, visiting church members and she provides meals for people with short term illnesses. Ruth takes her turn at preparing and serving Sunday coffee and greeting the congregation at the church. She helps with monthly church luncheons, and she coordinates the china department for the twice yearly thrift sale for the church. Ruth is a 73 year member of P.E.O., a philanthropic educational North American organization that provides educational opportunities to women world-wide. She has filled all positions in her local Vancouver chapter and is often on the interviewing committee for potential recipients to receive grants, loans and scholarships to continue their education. She plays bridge, often twice a week and attends Arts Club productions and Music in the Morning, and gives others a ride to these events. In the past, she was the first female Chair of the Board at Ryerson United Church. She has been a long term member and chaired various committees of the Ryerson Church Board. She was very involved in the United Church Women’s Group, including being an Explorer leader and Sunday School Teacher.
Bob Meyer- Bob started volunteering in July of 2005, with the Crisis Centre taking calls from people in distress. The Crisis Centre is a 24/7 operation, so Bob had shifts at all times of the day or night. He also assisted with some computer programming that saved hundreds of hours of other people’s time. In total Bob has put in well over two thousand hours as a volunteer at the Crisis Centre. Around the fall of 2006 Bob started to volunteer at Palliative Care at VGH. The main thing he did was to spend time with the patients, engage in conversation, and use the listening skills he had gained at the Crisis Centre. After five or six years at VGH, Bob decided to move on and eventually chose to volunteer at Union Gospel Mission. His first position was serving coffee at the drop-in. After a while he started to volunteer in the kitchen as well. In 2012 or 2013 Bob was approached to join the board at the Crisis Centre. He agreed and joined as a member-at-large and considered himself as a representative of volunteers. His dual role as a volunteer (talking on the phone to people in distress) and board member continued until 2016. Last year Bob became vice president of the board and this year president. As a member of the board and holding these offices, Bob is still a volunteer. Since 2014, Bob has been a member Pacific Spirit Park Society (PSPS) Board in various positions including president. His role at PSPS has mostly involved recruiting, defining a vision, and administration.
Vicki & Pitman Potter- Pitman Potter, law professor and Anglican deacon, and Vicki Potter, a city office worker, started Anglicans of West Point Grey Neighbourhood Ministry in 2008. Teams of volunteers from St. Anselm’s, St. Helen’s and St. Philip’s Churches meet homeless people in the neighbourhood and offer packets of non-perishable food items, fresh fruit, and especially conversation. In 2011 the NM, especially Vicki Potter, helped the city and BC Housing identify 24 men most in need of housing at the two new Westside supportive housing buildings. The NM helped with retrieving ID and filling the housing forms. Support to residents in the 17th and Dunbar building has continued. More recently the NM has expanded to include St. John’s Shaughnessy, and is called Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry. The NM Mobile Care Unit was started early in 2017. Doctors from UBC Family Practice and UBC social work students offer medical advice and social work help, including forms for housing, at sites where community meals are held. In February 2018 about 15 people helped by the NM were accepted at the modular housing complex in Marpole. The NM involves many volunteers, but the Potters have been the driving force behind it.
Ellen Querengesser- Ellen is a long time Neighbourhood Small Grant (NSG) and Green City Grant (GCG) project leader – she applies for a grant to organize volunteers to clean up the local beaches of litter and debris. This year Ellen joined the Resident Advisory Committee (RAC) where she is a member of the team who adjudicate the Westside Neighbourhood Small Grants Program. Ellen is also involved with promoting & organizing block parties to hold their event on Car Free Days in Kits, and is a Kits House volunteer.
Michelle Rooney- Michelle is a member of the St. Georges Junior School Beaver Scout pack and she works with the group of about 25 Beavers in the Dunbar Southlands area that meet at the school! She plans events with other Beaver Leaders that the young boys and girl can participate in! Exploring the trails of South East Pacific Spirit Park , with 2 walks looking at First Nations history , local Geology and Geography , this was the theme of this first event , There are many more future trails to explore, with a local volunteer leading the beavers to making many more park discoveries!
Judy Schmidt- Since 2003, Judy has volunteered to help designing, supporting, and facilitating the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project at the UBC Farm. For 15 years Judy has collaborated with with staff, bringing forward her extensive knowledge as a Master Gardener and her care for land, food, and community to grow Landed Learning into the project it is today. Today Landed Learning unites elders, younger volunteers, and elementary school children to learn and develop an ethic of care as they plant, tend, harvest, cook, and eat healthy food together throughout the school year. Judy has mentored over a dozen young volunteers and UBC students, some of whom have gone on to build careers in related fields or run their own programs.She has supported the Project’s fundraising efforts, including participating in a short video filmed, in which she stands in the cold and rain and shares from the heart how Landed Learning has impacted her and how she sees it impacting the heart education of children and communities. This year, Judy is continuing in her volunteer role as Landed Learning “Farm Friend” volunteer, while also bringing her passion and experience to the new Landed Learning Indigenous Education Program (LLIEP), which unites Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth with Indigenous elders and mentors to learn from the land and and from traditional teachings.
Shamim Shivji- Shamim has just stepped down as President of the West Point Grey Community Association after 7 years on the board, where she spent more than two as President, she played a critical role in negotiations between the Parks Board and our association regarding the new Joint Operating Agreement (JOA). While her focus was on the needs of our association she also played a major role in ensuring the JOA met the needs of the broader city wide community, a role that she hopes to continue as a Park Board Commissioner. As President, she led the Board of Directors in establishing annual priorities and goals, long-term strategic planning, community needs assessment, increasing financial transparency, increasing structural efficiencies and approving major financial decisions to ensure that the community center served the community as well as possible. As a result, the community center is more vibrant and serving more of the community then when she first joined the board. Despite the fact that Shamim is a full time lawyer and mediator she has always given much of her time as a volunteer. Thus, in addition to what is described above she has been a Director of the Parent Support Services Society of B.C., A Member of the Board of Management, and a volunteer at Kitsilano Neighborhood House.
JoJo Zhang– JoJo is a very active member of the Vancouver Quadra Constituency Youth Council, always offering to lend a hand and step up when there is work to be done. At her school (Lord Byng), JoJo is the President of the TED-Ed Club where she leads discussions and activities. Additionally, she is a key member of the Leaders of Hope club where members of the club go to seniors homes in the community to play music for the elderly residents. She also participates in the Debate program at Lord Byng and is an active member of the student council. JoJo is part of the Senior Strings program and the Senior Honour Orchestra where she plays the cello. Next, she mentors younger students through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program where she makes a big impact in the lives of students younger than her. Another activity JoJo enjoys participating in is fencing. Lastly, JoJo actively takes part in the Ecology club which includes the Neighborhood Cleanup party and adopt-a-block program.
© 2018 Joyce Murray. All rights reserved.