The Minister’s Seniors Service Awards recognize individuals and organizations who support seniors, lead the way for improved services and contribute to strong communities.
The 2020 awards featured new categories and sub-categories to recognize those who exemplified leadership and compassion to serve Alberta seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nominations were accepted for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations who served seniors through their extraordinary work in volunteerism, philanthropy, innovation or outstanding service.
Categories for eligibility
An individual Albertan or couple, of any age, who provides volunteer service, demonstrates philanthropy, or exhibits excellence to serve seniors in Alberta.
An Alberta non-profit organization that exhibits excellence in innovation and outstanding service to Alberta’s seniors.
An Alberta business or corporation that exhibits excellence in innovation or philanthropy in support of Alberta’s seniors.
Nominations were assessed based on
- Contribute time to assist seniors or senior-serving organizations.
- Financial support to seniors or senior-serving organizations.
- Motivate others into philanthropic giving, through leadership and encouragement.
- Lead, organize and support fundraising activities.
- Create programs or services to address essential needs of seniors in the community, such as food security, emotional supports, transportation or technology.
- Develop new ways for Albertans to connect with seniors.
- Implement programs to help seniors better cope through the pandemic.
- Demonstrate outstanding commitment and dedication to serving seniors.
2020 award recipients
Awards recipients were honoured at a virtual event on December 15, 2020.
Liza Bouchard – Beaumont
Liza is committed to helping seniors maintain a high quality of life. As the executive director of Drive Happiness, a senior’s transportation organization, Liza has invested loads of time and energy to keeping the organization going throughout the pandemic. She stays updated on the latest news and guidance from the Government of Alberta and the Chief Medical Officer of Health to ensure Drive Happiness has the best safety measures in place for volunteers and seniors. Armed with the latest guidelines, Liza was able to continue providing seniors with safe transportation, including rides to medical appointments, and grocery and prescription deliveries. Not only has Liza ensured seniors have access to the supports they need, she also provides a much-needed opportunity for safe social interaction. Thanks to Liza, the organization continues to provide outstanding service during a very difficult time.
Jenna Jepson – Calgary
In her role as the executive director of the Greater Forest Lawn 55+ Society, Jenna saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to get creative to meet the needs of older adults. She designed and implemented programs to reach out to seniors throughout the pandemic, including daily tele-check-ins, a healthy meal program, a pen pal program linking youth and older adults, and contactless activities so members could craft and stay active. A skilled collaborator and consensus builder, Jenna gained the co-operation of other seniors’ organizations needed to deliver her creative programs. She also secured the required financial support for 2 major renovation projects. Though Jenna has only been with the society for one year, it is clear that her dedication, vibrant personality, hard work and boundless energy are big contributors to the success of Greater Forest Lawn, and its outstanding service to older adults.
Corinna Roth-Beacome – Bow Island
Corinna provides outstanding service to help seniors in the County of Forty Mile, about an hour south of Medicine Hat. She has been working tirelessly during the pandemic – staying late to make sure everyone’s needs are met, making personal deliveries of masks or medications, and taking extra time to check in on seniors. If Corinna sees a problem or a gap in services, she takes action. She secured grant funding to launch a Meals on Wheels program for rural seniors and hire translators to ensure no one was left behind during the pandemic. Corinna works non-stop to help seniors access supports. She assists with financial applications, runs the community tax program, delivers food bank hampers and more. Corinna’s consistent presence, kindness and generosity, combined with her drive to meet the needs of her community, make her a well-respected member of the County of Forty Mile.
Surinderjit (Stan) Singh Plaha – Calgary
Surinderjit, known to many as Stan, has a vision to strengthen community capacity in Calgary so that all generations can benefit from social, cultural and economic infrastructure. Surinderjit’s excellent leadership qualities and strong community advocacy are evident in his role as activity organizer at the North Calgary Cultural Association (NCCA). Among his many achievements, he spearheaded the creation of an accessible community garden for seniors to enjoy time outside in the sunshine. Determined to make sure that seniors stay connected during the pandemic, Surinderjit secured a grant to purchase laptops for seniors. He also maintains a weekly email for NCCA’s members, and makes regular calls to seniors who do not have access to email. Surinderjit has also been a tireless champion for the Vivo expansion project, understanding that such a facility can act as a community hub for seniors that can improve their quality of life. His compassion, energy and commitment to community service make Surinderjit a shining example of outstanding service to seniors.
Bethany Care Foundation – Calgary
Since March 2020, the Bethany Care Foundation raised over $500,000 to support the fight against COVID-19. This funding helped the foundation provide iPads to facilitate virtual visits between residents and families, a smart television, social isolation kits for residents, and 7 portable touch screen units for sensory programming. The foundation realized that it needed to come up with creative ways to help residents stay socially connected. From photo name tags for staff to wipeable signs for guests could to share birthday and anniversary wishes, the foundation worked to bridge the digital distance and to help seniors feel real connections. The foundation also rallied the community to share words of encouragement with seniors via lawn signs, messages on social media and at their sites, demonstrating its mission of creating caring communities.
Photo: Leanne Demerais, chair
Ismaili Muslim Community – Calgary
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ismaili Muslim Community quickly established a crisis support line for seniors and others, to call and request grocery and medication delivery and assistance with technology. The Ismaili Muslim Community also provided online programming to cater to the needs of seniors, mobilizing more than 200 volunteers who committed to making weekly telephone calls to 2,000-plus seniors. The pandemic highlighted the need for accessible communication to those whose first language is not English. The team arranged a conference line that provided weekly community broadcasts in Farsi and Gujrati. It also took an innovative approach to provide discounted meals for seniors by seeking partnerships with location organizations. By stepping up for its members, the Ismaili Muslim Community helped improve the quality of life of seniors during a difficult time.
Photo (left to right): Tamizan Lalani, Leila Ladha, Farida Nathwani, Nizarali Bhaloo
The Joy4All Project of Ever Active Schools – Edmonton
The Joy4All Project, a youth-led initiative of Ever Active Schools, is a toll-free hotline that seniors and others experiencing social isolation can call to feel more connected. The hotline features pre-recorded jokes, stories and messages of kindness. Born of the increase in social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotline received an astounding 32,000 phone calls, and more than 80 families have submitted content. By using a mix of social media, web and telephones, Joy4All is accessible to folks who are hard of hearing or visually impaired. This innovative project offers a new way for seniors to connect with others of all ages. Thank you to these young people for their big hearts and smart use of technology to make sure that seniors feel connected and respected.
Ladybug Support Services Ltd. – Wetaskiwin
A small business dedicated to helping seniors, Ladybug Support Services offers rides to medical appointments, helps with personal shopping and banking, provides dictation services and takes care of housekeeping. Run by Theresa Grandmond, this all-inclusive service and delivery organization goes above and beyond to support isolated seniors through companionship, hospital visits and phone calls. These services are greatly needed in the community. Ladybug Support Services helps Wetaskiwin seniors maintain their independence, as long as possible, and gives families the comfort of knowing their loved ones are being cared for when they are unable to be there. Through her business, Theresa provides her clients with consideration and care during these uncertain times.
Photo: Theresa Grandmond, owner
Servus Credit Union – Edmonton
At the beginning of the pandemic, Servus Credit Union wanted its older members to be able to stay at home and still feel good about their money. So it launched the COVID-19 Seniors Call Program that has helped nearly 4,000 seniors. Under this program, a dedicated group of Servus employees called senior members who had time‑sensitive transactions to complete, and offered them the option to do their banking over the phone with a person on the other end of the line, instead of visiting a branch. Employees started each call with a warm check-in on the member’s well-being and asked if they needed anything – even if it was not banking-related. Servus Credit Union also set up special hours for seniors, and staff delivered food, stamps and cheques to seniors who were isolating in their homes. The bank also waived fees, provided monthly follow-up calls and donated to local grocery delivery programs. Servus Credit Union employees demonstrated that a simple phone call, some extra time and a willingness to listen can make a big difference.
Photo: Dion Linke, chief operating officer
Alice Modin Award
- Margaret Ann Woodward – Hillcrest Mines
- Margaret Stolk – Hillcrest Mines
Individuals and organizations
- Allan Holt – Radway
- Darrell Wood – Okotoks
- Georgette Cyr – Legal
- Harjit Singh Brar – Calgary
- Leonard Purnell – Cardston
- Friends of the St. Michael’s Society of Edmonton
- Westend Seniors Activity Centre – Edmonton
Alice Modin Award
- Gregory Steiner – Calgary
Individuals and organizations
- Bill Chrapko – Edmonton
- Bill Wulff – Drumheller
- Della Robertson – Cochrane
- Dolores Dercach – Sundre
- Jim Swift – Calgary
- Waqar Manzoor – Chestermere
- Fairview and Area Seniors Check-In Line Society – Fairview
- The Lending Cupboard Society of Alberta – Red Deer
Alice Modin Award
- Karen Nordgaard – Bragg Creek
Individuals and organizations
- Jeanette Engblom – Winfield
- John and Mabel Baxter – Whitecourt
- Lena McKenzie – Calgary
- Sewa Singh Premi – Calgary
- Wendy Lickacz – Edmonton
- Drayton Valley Health Care Auxiliary
- Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens Association
Connect with Alberta Seniors and Housing Community Initiatives:
Email: [email protected]