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The Inspiration Awards allows the government to honour outstanding Albertans who are making a difference in their communities. Their efforts build awareness, contribute to violence prevention and advance healthy relationships for all Albertans.
Call for nominations
The next Inspiration Awards will be held in spring 2022.
The call for nominations for the 2022 Inspiration Awards is now closed.
Individuals, organizations or businesses are recognized for work that contributes to violence prevention and promoting health relationships.
Awards are given for leadership in these categories:
- Family Violence Prevention
- Sexual Violence Prevention
- Child Abuse Prevention
- Bullying Prevention
Award are given for outstanding achievements in the following categories:
- Emerging Excellence – recognizes a youth or new professional aged 24 or younger who demonstrates leadership in any of the social issues above.
- Innovation – awarded to an individual, organization or business for an innovative approach to any of the social issues above.
- Lifetime Achievement – honours an individual for their long-term commitment to violence prevention and/or building healthy relationships.
Alberta residents or Alberta-based organizations, agencies, government offices, businesses or groups may be nominated for an Inspiration Award.
Individual awards – Leadership in family violence prevention
Paul Kent, Calgary
As a Clinical Social Worker, Paul has held a variety of positions since achieving a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Calgary in 2002. His roles have included direct care, program management and development, supervision and teaching. Most recently, his practice has emphasized family violence and healthy relationships. The inherent complexities and challenges related to relationships are well known, yet often difficult to address. To this end, his passion has prompted developing a tool to support people in their relationships and he feels optimistic it will have a positive effect, as it is being met with encouraging response.
Christine Berry, Calgary
Christine is a Registered Psychologist and works as the Director of Family Violence Prevention Initiatives at Calgary Counselling Centre. She has worked in the area of family violence counselling and prevention for over 23 years in Alberta. Christine has a Master of Science in Counselling Psychology from the University of Calgary. She is the recipient of two awards for her work in the family violence field: the Selinger Award, honouring her dedication and courage in the family violence sector through HomeFront, and the Group Therapy Appreciation Award for Creative Programming through the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association.
Carlene Donnelly, Calgary
Carlene is the Executive Director of Calgary Urban Projects Society (CUPS), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families overcome the challenges of poverty and trauma. Carlene is widely recognized as a leader in the community for building collaborative and holistic services in the areas of health care, education and social services. She has been involved with numerous advisory and steering committees working with all levels of government to develop strategies, policies and recommendations surrounding the challenges of poverty and trauma. Having completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Prince Edward Island, Carlene received her Master of Education Degree from the University of New Brunswick and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Organization awards – Leadership in family violence prevention
The Today Family Violence Help Centre, Edmonton
The Today Family Violence Help Centre works collaboratively with partners to provide comprehensive services, including intake, assessment, referral and case navigation support, to those experiencing family violence. Through public education and awareness raising efforts, training and workshops, including Family Violence Across the Lifespan, the Today Centre builds capacity in others to recognize and respond to family violence. The Today Centre distributes over 13,000 copies of the It Starts Today booklet annually.
Stop Abuse in Families Society (SAIF), St. Albert
For over 30 years, the St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF) Society has provided free services to individuals and families that have witnessed and/or experienced the traumatic effects of abuse and violence. SAIF provides supports to almost 500 families each year through their Individual and Group Counselling programs for adults and youth, Elder Abuse Response program, Healthy Relationships for Youth Education programs, and many other services. Their work has informed and supported agencies and families in St. Albert, Sturgeon County and the surrounding smaller rural communities in building resiliency, awareness, and prevention of domestic abuse and violence.
Islamic Family & Social Services Association (IFSSA), Edmonton
IFSSA is a culturally and spiritually sensitive social service provider whose services are open to all. IFSSA works on addressing the security, safety and growth needs of its clients through a range of programming that includes culturally appropriate food hampers, crisis support, domestic violence intervention, refugee support, preventive youth programming and more. IFSSA has been the leading voice against domestic violence in the Alberta Muslim community for over 25 years.
High Level Community Policing Society (HLCPS), High Level
HLCPS was created in order to oversee the Regional Victim Services Unit, Citizen’s on Patrol, D.A.R.E. program, and development of a Domestic Violence Response Unit. It is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Liaison Officer. In 2010, the HLCPS created the Domestic Violence Response Unit, partnering with the local RCMP, Probation, Child and Family Services, Victim Services, and the local women’s shelter. The program grew and broke down barriers, recognizing that to effectively deal with the high rates of domestic violence in the region, the root cause, ‘trauma’, had to be addressed. As a result of programming dealing with the root cause, the High Level RCMP region has noted a measurable 31% decrease in domestic violence-related incidents.
Business awards – Leadership in family violence prevention
Higgerty Law, Calgary
Higgerty Law is a firm in Calgary. Many of their cases involve working with victims of crime where injurious conduct has occurred. The Principal Counsel, Mr. Patrick Higgerty, has prioritized training all staff in Informed Trauma Care. This approach acknowledges treatment of claimants who have experienced trauma. It is a sustainability effort by Higgerty Law to offer this unique service that respects each survivor’s recovery from traumatic events. Research shows that victims can often be traumatized during the legal process. Higgerty Law’s mission is to avoid this traumatization.
Individual awards – Leadership in prevention of sexual violence
Dr. Kiara Mikita, Calgary
Dr. Mikita is an independent educator and researcher, and a faculty member at the University of Calgary. She has studied sexual violence for over a decade, including the effects of victim blaming on sexual violence prevention and the effects forensic science-based entertainment have on prospective jurors. She is currently focused on finding ways to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and community building in the different sectors involved in sexual violence prevention and response. She is renowned for her active, engaging teaching and facilitation style and for her creative, “outside of the box” approaches to learning, engagement and community building.
Tammy Shopland, Lloydminster
Ms. Shopland, Chief Executive Officer for the Lloydminster Sexual Assault Services, has worked at the centre since 2013. She has been an integral part of sexual violence awareness, education and support in Lloydminster and surrounding area by fostering community connections and supporting trauma survivors. Tammy passionately stays at the forefront of changing public perception about sexual violence, and believes in supporting gender equality as many diverse people have walked through the centre’s doors. Tammy exudes a natural guidance; she is willing to help, and never asks staff to do a job she is not willing to do. She inspires staff to dream big and allows their true passions to shine.
Organization awards – Leadership in prevention of sexual violence
Bow Valley Harmony Project, Banff
The Harmony Project is a coming together of service providers to end sexual assault and sexual harassment in the Bow Valley—a service area that encapsulates Lake Louise, Banff, Canmore, Exshaw, Kananaskis, and Lac Des Arc. The key focus of the Harmony Project is sexual violence prevention and awareness, training for service providers and community members, and enhancing direct services for survivors and their support people. The project is supported by the Government of Alberta and the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services.
MacEwan University, Edmonton
MacEwan Anti-Violence Education Network (MAVEN) offered by MacEwan University’s Office of Sexual Violence Prevention, Education, and Response, provides over 50 hours of training to students to become Peer Educators. In turn, they create a culture of consent at MacEwan through workshop facilitation and outreach activities. Powered by Peer Educators, MAVEN increases awareness of sexual violence and consent while improving relationships with the MacEwan student population.
Individual awards – Leadership in bullying prevention
Caroline Gosling (Missal), Edmonton
Caroline has been an educator for 34 years, always invested in creating environments that are caring, respectful, and safe for all. She has worked as a teacher, consultant and principal, and with the Government of Alberta (secondment). Caroline holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is a certified Community Conferencing Facilitator. Caroline is a past board member of the Hope Foundation, the Zebra Child Protection Society, and the Alberta Conflict Transformation Society. She is currently past chair of the Alberta Restorative Justice Association and now does work with the International Institute for Restorative Practices.
Brett Todd, Cold Lake
Born in Cold Lake, Brett grew up as a base brat in a number of military communities across Canada. He graduated in 1992, and then attended Bishop's University for Computer Science. After three years, he switched to a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He graduated in 1998, and then he worked in mental health, for supports for independent living, prior to taking a position at Assumption School as the Family Outreach Worker in 2003. Brett completed his master’s degree in Counselling Psychology with Yorkville University in 2018. He is married, with one lovely daughter. He loves rugby, snowboarding, gaming and outdoor pursuits. Brett has made a significant contribution helping students at Assumption School and in the Cold Lake area to help build resiliency in the face of adversity.
Individual – Innovation Award
Dr. Deinera Exner-Cortens, Calgary
Dr. Exner-Cortens is making major contributions to preventing adolescent dating violence and building healthy youth relationships. Since completing her PhD in 2014, she has been awarded over $1.3 million to conduct cutting-edge dating violence prevention research and deliver prevention programming in Alberta. Her research particularly focuses on violence prevention with adolescent boys, an extremely pressing need in the province. She also led evaluation of the province-wide implementation of school- and community-based dating violence prevention activities, as part of the Alberta Healthy Youth Relationships Strategy. Dr. Exner-Cortens’ work is making life better for youth across the province.
Organization – Innovation Award
Ever Active Schools (EAS), Edmonton
EAS is a provincial initiative designed to create and support healthy school communities. They engage and support schools through a Comprehensive School Health approach, which addresses health and education goals to improve the social outcomes of children and youth in Alberta. Through collaborative partnerships, project-based work, knowledge exchange and competency-based learning opportunities, EAS spearheads meaningful collaboration between the health, education, recreation and active living sectors. They recognize and value diverse abilities, identities, cultures and ways of knowing. EAS practices a strengths-based approach, humbly acknowledging that they do not know all the answers; they are continually learning how to better partner with, support and inspire diverse communities.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Penny Mickanuck, Grande Prairie
In her 28 years as Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Grande Prairie, Penny has demonstrated leadership in building local programs and capacity to prevent domestic violence. She pioneered the use of the narrative therapeutic approach within Alberta for treatment for people who have been abusive in their relationships. She brought innovative training opportunities to Grande Prairie, organizing more than 10 community-training events on topics such as Narrative Therapy and Intelligent Compassion in Group Therapy. Through her perseverance, dedication and collaboration, she has made a difference in Grande Prairie while demonstrating compassion and belief in individuals.
Individual Awards – Leadership in Family Violence Prevention
Ashley Lim, YWCA Edmonton
Ashley Lim is YWCA Edmonton’s Director of Counselling Services and Youth Programming as well a registered psychologist. Under her leadership, the YWCA has grown significantly and become a sought-after teaching facility specializing in family violence. Ashley’s re-visioning of YWCA Youth Programs created effective violence prevention curriculum for Edmonton youth. Her empathy and expertise has helped many Albertans move from crisis to resilience.
Dr. Dahlia ElShafie-Mostafa
Dahlia ElShafie-Mostafa is the president and CEO of the Canadian Life Transformation Academy, an educational academy and social enterprise focusing on family, development and leadership. Dahlia is a professional certified master life coach, marriage and youth counsellor, and leadership consultant and trainer. She works with families and community members using a coaching and counselling approach that is tailored to their needs. She works to help them revive their relationships, while improving their well-being, balance, and development.
Wendy Aujla is a PhD candidate with the University of Alberta’s Sociology Department and an activist within the family violence prevention movement in Canada. Her research explores the perceptions of honour-based crimes from police officers and civilians working in Alberta policing agencies. As an applied sociologist and criminologist, she uses her research to inform government, academia, the Canadian criminal justice system, and the public on responses to violence against women. Wendy is actively engaged in family violence research and is passionate about building safer communities free from violence.
Mana Ali, Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
Mana Ali joined the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers as a social worker over two decades ago and recently joined the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative where she support immigrants settling and integrating their life in Canada. Mana helps build capacity of women and girls within the context of gender equality and promotes the healthy relationships within newcomer families and communities. She helps individuals gain a strong sense of self either by working on family issues in culturally sensitive and appropriate ways or by supporting women in leaving violent relationships. With Mana’s help through counselling and community/peer support, women increase their confidence in navigating their lives in Canada.
Organization Awards – Leadership in Family Violence Prevention
Stepping Up, Mount Royal University
Mount Royal University’s Stepping Up project addresses a significant gap in programming for post-secondary students, the majority who are in the age group at highest risk for relationship violence. It is a peer-facilitated project that works with community partners and faculty to design and deliver curriculum to other youth. Up to 60 students annually participate in discussions related to healthy relationships, sexual relationships, bystander intervention and the impact of gender and media. This project raises awareness about healthy relationships and bystander behaviour.
Catholic Social Services - Immigration and Settlement Service
Catholic Social Services - Immigration and Settlement Service has been supporting newcomer families to settle, adapt and rebuild their lives in Edmonton and central Alberta for over 55 years. The agency developed and offers a comprehensive range of culturally and linguistically diverse programs, including services and approaches that support families and aim to prevent family violence. Four key programs aimed at addressing family violence within the newcomer communities are Cross-Cultural Counselling, Tea Connections, Parenting in Two Cultures and the Men’s Conversation Group.
Athabasca and Area Prevention of Relationship Abuse Action Committee
Athabasca and Area Prevention of Relationship Abuse Action Committee (PRAAC) is a volunteer non-profit, community collaboration grass roots committee operating in Athabasca since 2006. PRAAC conducts educational/awareness campaigns in the community to promote the healthy relationship model both to youth and the entire community and provides advocacy for social agencies in the region that deal with family violence. PRAAC’s efforts have made a difference in addressing the issue of family violence and realizing their vision: “All people have the right to live within safe and respectful relationships wherever they live, learn, work, play or pray.”
Business Awards – Leadership in Family Violence Prevention
Echo Promotions’ CEO, Ward Campanelli, has been a supporter of WIN House for over a decade. Ward has continued to support WIN House through campaigns, golf tournaments, galas and staff-related events both as a champion and advocate for the WIN House and the human rights issue of domestic violence. Echo Promotions has become a model of compassion, belief and inspiration to other business leaders in the community.
Individual Awards – Leadership in Prevention of Sexual Violence
Kari Thomason, Métis Child and Family Services Society
A fierce advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women and men, Kari is a voice for those who need support and strength in their most vulnerable times. She has helped those involved in the sex trade and their families through the Métis Child and Family Services Society’s SNUG Program since its inception in 2005. An advocate and educator who details the harsh realities of the sex industry, Kari assists and supports individuals who wish to leave the sex trade and find new positive beginnings.
Arden is a third year law student at Thompson Rivers University with a keen interest in human rights, women’s issues and access to justice. She spent two terms serving Edmonton’s most vulnerable women as a Summer Law Clerk at the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. In 2017, Arden worked for West Coast LEAF to develop a workshop about sexual violence entitled “Only Yes Means Yes!” She spends her time and energy supporting the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre and Elizabeth Fry Society’s Courtwork Program.
Organization Awards – Leadership in Prevention of Sexual Violence
NorQuest College’s sexual violence policy is an important component to their vision and commitment to the prevention of sexual violence on many levels. NorQuest’s Sexual Violence Support and Awareness Team formed and developed a comprehensive and leading edge sexual violence policy that empowers individuals to seek support. The policy includes a framework for reporting and investigating incidents of sexual violence. They have also created events on healthy relationships, sexual violence prevention, consent awareness and a First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse training. They have presented information sessions and brought in a number of community resources on campus.
Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse
Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse (CCASA) has been the primary sexual abuse and sexual assault crisis and education service provider for Calgary and surrounding areas for 19 years. CCASA strives to enhance the health and well-being of the community through responsible and effective programs in sexual abuse education, research and advocacy, crisis intervention and counselling. CCASA was instrumental in working with the Calgary Police Service to become the first major police service in Canada to implement “The Philadelphia Model”, a case review model that is considered the Gold Standard in sexual assault investigations.
Individual Awards – Leadership in Prevention of Child Abuse
Rosanna Saccomani, Q.C.
Rosanna Saccomani promotes healthy relationships through a variety of roles. Her Honour Rosanna Saccomani is an Alberta Provincial Court Judge and a mom of two who was inspired to create Kids Kottage Foundation in 1995. As a co-founding member, past Chair and current Board Director of Kids Kottage Foundation, she is dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect and supporting families. Her efforts have helped over 25,000 children in more than two decades since Edmonton’s first and only crisis nursery opened.
Glori Meldrum founded Little Warriors in 2008 as she was inspired to help all children who had been sexually abused because of her past experience as a survivor of child sexual abuse. She currently sits as the Board Chair of Little Warriors and is committed to the awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse nationally. In addition to being a Little Warrior herself, she is a business owner, mother, wife and philanthropist. Glori is also involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations including The Good Samaritan Society, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Organization Awards – Leadership in Prevention of Child Abuse
Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre
The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (SKCAC) has an integrated collaborative approach that improves timelines in the assessment and investigation of child abuse cases. The SKCAC runs education programs and public awareness campaigns, does research, and has meetings with government year round to bring the issue of child abuse to the forefront. Their collaborative and integrative response is breaking down barriers and effecting systemic change.
Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre
The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre is a not-for-profit organization working collaboratively in a culturally relevant and trauma-informed system. They blend investigation, treatment, prevention, education and research with expertise to provide an integrated practice approach for children. They are always working in the best interest of the child.
Individual Awards – Leadership in Bullying Prevention
As the Helplines Manager at Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton, Emma oversees the contact centre, which responds to calls for the Edmonton Distress Line, 211, Family Violence Info Line and Bullying Helpline. She has built links between community organizations and the helplines to ensure clients get the support they need. Emma has responded to countless calls from those experiencing abuse and has helped them feel heard and supported as they look for a path forward.
Elizabeth Ly began working for the Calgary Police Service to develop and coordinate the Hate Hurts program, focussed on delivering presentations to youth at schools and public events. The program has expanded to provide a train-the-trainer handbook for policing agencies. Through the past 13 years, Elizabeth has delivered over 3,500 presentations. Elizabeth is passionate about promoting an inclusive society where everyone is free to be themselves regardless of nationality, gender, sexuality, socio-economic standing or any other factor that people use to categorize themselves or others.
Organization Awards – Leadership in Bullying Prevention
YELL Youth Council, Synergy Youth and Community Development Society
Synergy is a not-for-profit organization that cultivates the development of leadership and wellness education programs in Chestermere, Langdon and SE Rocky View. Its YELL (Youth Encouraging Lasting Leadership) program empowers youth through volunteerism, social activism, and self-determination. The YELL Youth Council started the Pretty in Pink Initiative in 2014 as a way to bring awareness to bullying prevention, as well as other local organizations that work to prevent bullying.
iHuman Youth Society
In 1997, a few Edmontonians came together to solve a problem: there were too many marginalized young people on city streets. iHuman Youth Society established a youth-driven model built around creativity which now engages over 500 youth impacted by the negative outcomes of poverty, intergenerational trauma, addiction, mental illness, violence, racism, discrimination, unhealthy relationships and exploitation. In co-creating journeys of healing, they foster opportunities for personal development, wellbeing and social change.
Emerging Excellence Award
Tina Guo’s drive, self-accountability, and vision allowed her to singlehandedly found the Students Against Domestic Abuse Association (SADAA) in 2016, which is the first student-run initiative of its kind in Canada. SADAA is currently a member agency of the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective, consisting of 70 local member agencies collaborating to address domestic abuse locally. Inspired by the struggles of a friend who survived domestic abuse, Tina started the much-needed SADAA. She has volunteered countless hours over the past two years to build the foundation for a campus-wide support network for individuals who have experienced domestic abuse—including family violence, sexual violence and child abuse. She has continued to be a role model and advocate for those experiencing abuse, and—through her relentless commitment to improving the lives of survivors—has helped to change the culture surrounding domestic abuse at the University of Calgary and in the wider community.
Dr. Gaye Warthe, Mount Royal University
Gaye Warthe, an Associate Dean at Mount Royal University (MRU), has devoted much of her career and her research to the study of family violence. She is well respected and a widely-published academic who has presented at over 50 conferences. She has developed family violence screening/education protocols for 64 organizations in Calgary, including Calgary Regional Health Authority emergency and urgent care departments, Calgary Police Service, Children’s Services and both Calgary Education Boards. In 2008, Dr. Warthe began a longitudinal study on dating violence and prevalence at MRU—the largest multi-year incidence and prevalence study on this issue in Canada. The study resulted in the development of “Stepping Up”, a peer-facilitated dating and family violence prevention project. This project has since been adopted by a number of post-secondary institutions in Alberta and Ontario. As the project lead, Gaye developed the Dating Relationship Scale and has completed an environmental scan looking at dating violence, domestic and sexual violence policies and programs in 48 Canadian post-secondary institutions.
Lifetime Achievement Awards
Carolyn Goard, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS)
Carolyn Goard’s contributions to building a world free from violence and abuse are significant. She has always been a strong and early advocate for children’s programming, recognizing the impact that trauma and domestic violence has on child development. Whether as a clinical psychologist, a manager with the YWCA, or Director of Member Services with ACWS, she pioneered the use of sector data to inform practice. Carolyn also significantly advanced a key vision of the shelter movement to invest in training of shelter staff so they have the best possible tools and approaches available to support women, children and seniors escaping violence. Over the years she has provided support to women and shelter staff in building healthy relationships and identifying interventions that work to end violence against women.
Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner
Over the course of her 36-year career, Robbie Babins-Wagner (PhD, RSW) has made extensive contributions to mental health services and domestic violence prevention in Alberta. Dr. Babins-Wagner is the CEO of Calgary Counselling Centre and an Adjunct Professor and Sessional Instructor at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. Robbie introduced changes to the domestic abuse and family violence programs at Calgary Counselling Centre to include programs created for women who are abusive in relationships and men who are victims of abuse. She has won numerous achievement and leadership awards for her work, including the Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Calgary. Robbie is also an author and has made numerous presentations in Canada, the US, Europe and Israel.
Individual Award – Leadership in Bullying Prevention
Linda Crockett, Edmonton
Linda Crockett of Edmonton is recognized for her leadership role in advocating for those affected by bullying. She is the founder of the Alberta Bullying Research, Resources & Recovery Centre. The centre provides education, awareness, advocacy, and recovery counselling services to anyone affected by bullying, including rehabilitation for perpetrators. She has facilitated numerous workshops for social workers, teachers, youth justice volunteers, the Edmonton Support Network, First Nations Communities, and teens.
Group Award – Leadership in Bullying Prevention
Cold Lake High School’s Best Buddies Program, Cold Lake
This program builds healthy relationships and prevents bullying by providing youth with the opportunity to engage with peers with disabilities. CLHS student “Buddies” in the school’s Inclusive Education Life Skills Program are paired with mainstream “Peer Buddies” students with the aim of building one-on-one friendships and creating an inclusive school community.
Founded by Dana Kerford, a teacher from Calgary, URSTRONG’s focus on bullying prevention has improved the social climate in schools, teaching kids a common language to confidently manage conflict and create a culture of respect and kindness. URSTRONG’s workshops and programs have now been adopted by over 110 schools in Alberta, as well as hundreds of other schools in Canada, United States, and Australia.
Individual Award – Leadership in Child Abuse Prevention
Dr. Eden McCaffrey, Calgary
Dr. Eden McCaffrey’s dedication to child abuse prevention work demonstrates remarkable leadership. She provides assessment, therapy, consultation and education via her private practice, Ascend Services in Calgary, primarily in the area of child abuse prevention and treatment. She assists the Alberta legal system, provincial Child and Family Services and families by identifying persons who are at risk of child abuse through her assessments, speaking in court, advocating for children and providing parent interventions.
Honorary Award – Leadership in Child Abuse Prevention
Fossey, Service Dog, Zebra Child Protection Centre, Edmonton
Fossey’s official title for the last six years has been “Zebra Child Protection Centre VIP” (Very Important Paws) but a title alone doesn’t do justice to the impact of her work. Since 2013, she has lent her strength to victims of child abuse at the Zebra Centre as she supports them throughout the entire disclosure, investigative, judicial and healing process.
In 2016 alone, Fossey supported six children through court preparation, greeted and stayed with 56 children as they waited for their interview, and accompanied 54 children through their forensic interview. She was also recognized by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, who appointed Fossey, and her handler Carolyn Thom, as official ambassadors in 2014. Fossey retired from her position at the end of November 2017.
Emerging Excellence Award – Leadership in Family Violence Prevention
John Wenlock, Claresholm
John Wenlock’s leadership in preventing family violence is inspirational. As the Youth of Tomorrow Teen Center Coordinator with FCSS Claresholm, he organizes programs for the youth to learn about fitness, health, hygiene, healthy relationships, positive behaviour, art, and volunteering. This group, comprised of mostly boys, are thriving with John’s leadership. In the spring of 2017, John received the Foothills Canada 150 Medal for his contributions and Volunteerism Award.
Group Award – Leadership in Family Violence Prevention
Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, Cold Lake
The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre in Cold Lake is dedicated to building a stronger community free from family violence. The centre provides a safe shelter and support to women and children fleeing abuse or in a homeless situation. They offer workshops, teen groups, educational presentations and group support sessions for both female and male clients to build healthier lifestyle changes and relationships.
Peaceful Alliance Rejecting Injustice, Violence and Advocating Respect, Edmonton
The group is being recognized for their efforts to promote healthy and safe families within the South Asian Edmonton community. They are a Mill Woods based initiative focused on developing a collaborative community response to family violence. PARIVAAR addresses family violence by directly engaging communities and fostering partnerships across sectors, including professional, community, spiritual leaders and police services.
Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Society, Calgary
Since 2009, Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Society in Calgary has been a leader in awareness and advocacy on family violence and domestic abuse. The Society organizes soup-making events with their volunteers to communicate directly with women’s emergency, second-stage shelters and youth serving agencies about family violence and the work of the agencies. The group’s youth programs also promote healthy relationships and encourage youth leadership to more than 300 Albertans.
Wheatland Crisis Society, Strathmore
Wheatland Crisis Society, which operates the Strathmore Shelter, has been dedicated to preventing family violence and making a positive contribution to their community for 25 years. The Society provides shelter, counselling, referrals, public education, and outreach to survivors of abuse regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexuality, marital status, or mental/physical ability. They are committed to a vision of a future where their community is free of violence and citizens are empowered to resolve conflict in peaceful and productive ways.
Individual Award – Leadership in Family Violence Prevention
Bela Gupta, Calgary
Bela Gupta has demonstrated her commitment to ending family violence at the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association as a family counsellor for over a decade. Leveraging her multicultural background, passion for women’s empowerment, and family inclusive practice, she has established herself as a leader in helping individuals and families dealing with family violence in the South Asian community. Notably, she spearheaded multiple men’s support groups to engage them in ending domestic violence.
Michael Hoyt, Edmonton
Michael Hoyt, a social worker with the City of Edmonton, is being recognized for his many years of work to engage men and boys in family violence prevention. Michael also brings a passion for engaging diverse communities in his work, including working with Indigenous groups and new immigrant and refugee communities. His 30 years of service in this field includes work in intimate partner intervention programs and serving on the Domestic Abuse High Risk Team, a partnership of the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Service
Joseph Luri, Edmonton
Joseph Luri is a community leader in helping newcomers to Alberta build healthy relationships and prevent family violence. As the Team Lead of Safe Families with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, he has played a critical role in bringing culturally effective innovations from family mentoring and meditation, to educational program development, to creative preventative programming for men within the immigrant and refugee communities.
Ravi Natt, Calgary
Ravi Natt is being recognized for her work to address barriers for immigrant families experiencing family violence. She was a founding member of Punjabi Community Health Services in 2014. By providing language and culturally appropriate social services within the South Asian community, she has enhanced access to social service supports for those affected by family violence and addiction.
Kim Ruse, Calgary
Kim Ruse, Executive Director of Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter has led the development of innovative violence prevention programs that help clients build skills to make healthy choices in their lives. In the community, she has developed a strong partnership with the Tsuu T’ina First Nation in their efforts to combat family violence within their community and enhance services to Indigenous people.
Lalita Singh, Calgary
Lalita Singh shows in her professional and volunteer experience that it takes working together to address family violence. She played a significant role in the creation of the Northeast Calgary domestic violence prevention collaborative, where more than 15 local resident groups are now implementing action plans on addressing family violence. In her volunteer time, she provides advice and mentorship to many ethnic and community organizations in building their own leadership and organizational capacities.
Business Leadership in Sexual Violence Prevention
Pattison Outdoor Advertising, Calgary
Pattison Outdoor Advertising in Calgary has stepped up as a business leader in sexual violence prevention as a media partner for the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services’ #IBelieveYou public awareness campaign. The campaign won a 2016 North American SABRE Award, for Superior Achievement in public relations. More survivors now feel safe to tell someone, report to the police, or reach out for counselling services. Pattison Outdoor Advertising has helped to spread the message and has contributed to making Alberta’s communities healthier and safer for everyone.
Emerging Excellence Award – Leadership in Sexual Violence Prevention
Shalea Harder-Mah, Lacombe
Shalea Harder-Mah is being recognized for her passion in helping others affected by sexual violence. She started the first Red Deer College Sexual Assault and Abuse Awareness Group and continues to manage the group.. In 2016, the group received special recognition from the Student’s Association of Red Deer College for their work. She also works with the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre as a crisis line volunteer, an educator to facilitate youth programs, and as a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) member.
Group Award – Leadership in Sexual Violence Prevention
Amethyst Project, YWCA of Lethbridge and District
Amethyst Project is being recognized for their service to sexual violence survivors. Sexual Assault Advocates work out of the Lethbridge and District YWCA and provide services to victims of sexual violence at the local Alberta Health Services emergency room. The advocates improve care and confidence for patients by providing advice, options and counselling support. Since the project’s 2015 inception, the advocates have been greatly beneficial to patients, Sexual Assault Response Team physicians, hospital staff, and the whole community.
Calgary Police Service Sex Crimes Unit
The Sex Crimes Unit of the Calgary Police Service plays a leadership role in sexual violence prevention through their approach in investigating cases. Calgary is the first major Canadian city to implement the Philadelphia Model, a model of accountability for law enforcement to review unfounded and a random sampling of sexual assault cases. The efforts contribute to the prevention of sexual violence by helping build trust in the justice system, which can lead to higher reporting of sexual violence and more successful convictions for sexual crimes.
Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre, Red Deer
The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre in Red Deer demonstrates leadership in sexual violence prevention through innovative and comprehensive programs and services. They educate, support and empower individuals, families and communities regarding all aspects of sexual abuse and sexual assault. They have created quality education programs, Culture of Respect principles with the iRespect campaign, and the Family Intervention Program.
Sexual Violence Action Plan Committee, Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS)
In May of 2017, the committee launched Alberta’s first Sexual Violence Action Plan. The group oversaw an extensive literature review on sexual abuse primary prevention, sexual violence plans from around the world, and a research brief on the risk and protective factors of childhood sexual abuse. The committee’s vision for an Alberta free of sexual violence is a result of over 40 years of front line experience, research, and best practices addressing sexual violence in Alberta.
Milton Iwaasa, Coaldale
Citizens of southern Alberta’s rural communities are grateful for Milton’s leadership efforts in family violence prevention. Milton is a true example of building healthy relationships as a long term strategy to ending violence among all ages. During his 30 year career with Barons-Eureka-Warner Family and Community Support Services, he has been instrumental in initiating many innovative programs to reduce social isolation and build healthy relationships. In November 2017, Milton wrapped up a tremendous professional career with his retirement and will leave behind a legacy of supporting families and preventing violence.
Connect with the Inspiration Awards program for more information:
Alberta Community and Social Services
Preventive Community Services Division
4th floor, Forestry Building
Edmonton, AB T5K 2M4
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