The Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards recognize extraordinary Albertans whose volunteer efforts have contributed to the well-being of their community and fellow community members.
Six awards are presented annually on or around International Volunteer Day, December 5. Two awards are given in each of the following 3 categories:
How to nominate someone
2019 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards nominations are now closed.
2019 awards recipients will be announced on December 5, International Volunteer Day.
2020 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards nominations will open in the spring of 2020.
Albertans are eligible for a Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award if they:
- exemplify the spirit of community service
- demonstrate exemplary initiative, leadership and creativity in their service to others
- serve as a role model for others in their community
- inspire others to engage in volunteer service
- improve the overall quality of life of fellow Albertans and community as a whole
For detailed information on past award recipients, please contact the program.
- Past Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award Recipients (PDF, 37 KB)
Braydon Fix – Sherwood Park
Braydon Fix is a remarkable young man who loves his community of Sherwood Park and selflessly gives his time and energy to help others.
Braydon is an avid volunteer for the Volunteer Strathcona SnowBusters program that assists local seniors and persons with disabilities with snow removal in the winter months. Braydon then transitions to the LawnBusters program in the summer to assist with the lawn upkeep.
Braydon is also a big part of the volunteer team at the Common Ground Community Café, a volunteer-run local café, aiming to create a space of community and connections. Braydon offers his help in the kitchen and does not shy away from any other tasks that come his way.
Braydon is an integral part of the Nitza’s Pizza team assisting with volunteer opportunities associated with Nitza’s numerous fundraising initiatives and events supporting great causes such as the Stollery Children Hospital and Little Warriors, to name a few.
The Strathcona County Special Olympics Society is very dear to Braydon’s heart. He joined the organization 6 years ago as a young athlete and has become an ambassador in fundraising and awareness for the organization, with countless volunteer hours dedicated to the cause.
Braydon has also been involved in the fundraising efforts with Dr. Brent Saik, who has been setting world records with The World’s Longest Hockey and Baseball Games to raise money for cancer research.
Braydon is often seen at the Sherwood Park Crusaders Hockey Club, contributing to the team’s success with various jobs at the rink and dressing room, but more importantly, cheering on the team with his fantastic attitude and sparkling personality.
Nominated by Caron Stoltz, Volunteer, Strathcona
Maryanne Leathwaite – Okotoks
Maryanne’s desire to help everyone drives her to make a difference, one good deed at a time.
Maryanne has been a dedicated volunteer for various groups at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She is a member of Kids Helping Kids organization, where kids use their creative energy to fundraise for the hospital, from lemonade stands to clothing donation drives.
Maryanne is also a member of the Youth Philanthropy Council with the hospital, promoting child health in the community through advocacy and fundraising efforts. The council plans and executes the annual Metamorphosis Gala, raising thousands of dollars to support mental health initiatives. Maryanne plays a crucial role on the team and helped raise over $15,000 this year in support of the new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre.
Maryanne is always the first to volunteer to take on new tasks and help at many additional hospital events, including Fall Harvest, Candy Cane Gala, and RBC Race for the Kids, to name a few.
Maryanne has always been eager to help raise awareness and support for the hospital. She volunteers every year at Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day, acts as ambassador for the ATB Teddy for a Toonie Campaign, participating in a video highlighting the importance of Brain Health.
Besides her full-time volunteer schedule at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Maryanne volunteers at ME to WE group, raising funds and awareness about poverty. She was a guest speaker at the 2017 WE Day sharing with the audience the importance of giving back.
Maryanne also contributes her time as a leader and a volunteer councillor at Easter Seals Camp Horizon.
Nominated by Rena Vaudry, community member
Alicia Bjarnason – Calgary
Alicia Bjarnason is opening a whole new world for young Albertans to explore and, perhaps, find exciting careers to pursue. As a professional geologist, Alicia shares her passion and knowledge in the science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) fields with young Albertans.
As a volunteer with the Alberta Women’s Science Network, Alicia has offered her time and leadership to help improve the lives of women in the STEM fields. Her efforts as an advisor to the Women APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geologists of Alberta) committee have helped women in engineering and geosciences advance and retain their roles in the workplace, and she was instrumental as co-founder of the Women’s Workplace Improvement Network. In this role, she led development on the Flexible Work Arrangements initiative and co-wrote Managing Transition, a strategy which is being promoted by Engineers Canada and was the model for the previous Ministry of Status of Women’s maternity policy.
Not only has Alicia worked to help women find success within the STEM fields, she set out to ensure those successes were celebrated. She established WinStem Week, with events across the province supporting inclusivity and diversity in STEM.
Alicia’s volunteer contributions also include the initiation of the Work Re‑Engagement program. The program focuses on promoting a healthy workplace culture, empowering employees with opportunities for career growth and life balance, and helping companies retain highly qualified staff.
As president of the Alberta Women’s Science Network, Alicia has taken a hands on approach to introducing young people to STEM fields. Alicia is working to expand Operation Minerva, a program that exposes youth to careers in STEM fields. She can often be found at Marion Carson Elementary School, bringing geology into the classroom. As a mother of a child cancer survivor, Alicia also contributes her energies to the Children’s Wish Foundation, helping children realize their dreams.
Nominated by Shoma Sinha, Alberta Women’s Science Network
Penny Steffen – Grimshaw
Penny Steffen has been touching the lives of residents of Grimshaw and the Peace Region of northern Alberta for more than 20 years. With a ready smile, outgoing personality and vast reserves of positive energy, Penny exemplifies the spirit of community.
As a registered veterinary technologist, Penny has applied her skills to ensuring the welfare of rescued pets at the Peace Regional SPCA. Numerous organizations have benefitted from Penny’s knowledge and love of animals, including the Grande Prairie Regional College Animal Health Technology Advisory Board.
That same experience has come in handy when she steps up to help judge cattle during local Alberta 4-H shows. Penny also judges 4-H public speaking competitions and has served as an Assistant Leader and Public Speaking Coordinator with the Strong Creek 4-H club. Penny shares her passion for rural Alberta as a volunteer with the Grimshaw and District Agricultural Society and the North Peace Stampede Association.
Some of the region’s most avid curlers were introduced to the game by Penny, who has given 21 years of service as Junior Curling and Little Rocks instructor at the Grimshaw Curling Club. Penny helps to keep Grimshaw active in winter by organizing family curling nights and bonspiels and serves as a club director and volunteer in the curling rink lounge. Her interest in sports is further evidenced by time spent coaching the Grimshaw Junior High volleyball team and her volunteer work with the Grimshaw Huskies Senior Men’s hockey team, Grimshaw Minor Hockey Association, and the Alberta Pond Hockey Championships.
From fundraiser and board member with the Grimshaw Centennial Park Society to member of the local Community Services Advisory Board, and organizer and participant with the annual Terry Fox Run, MS Society Walk and Relay for Life, Penny’s enthusiasm and energy is inspiring others to join her efforts to build community.
Nominated by Tracy Halerewich, Town of Grimshaw, Community Services Department
Madeleine (Maggie) Gervais – McLennan
Maggie Gervais has been a hard-working, efficient, and dependable volunteer leader for many years in her community of McLennan, located in the Peace Country. Residents of McLennan consider themselves 'lucky' to have Maggie in their community and appreciate her unsurmountable dedication to a number of local organizations and causes.
Maggie’s contribution to her community is vast and diverse. She could be found in the forefront, spearheading many projects by Royal Purple and taking the lead role in organizing many local events, from Winter Festival to Royal Purple’s Walk for Children. Royal Purple is a long-standing organization supporting Canadian children and communities. Volunteers like Maggie are essential for keeping the organization thriving and benefitting small rural communities like McLennan.
Maggie can also be found volunteering her time at the Manoir Du Lac Integrated Life Care Facility assisting with fundraising events or visiting with residents.
Maggie is a treasurer for the McLennan Leisure and Recreation Society and assists many beautification efforts in the community, including the lakeshore and downtown core.
An avid volunteer for the Northern Alberta Historical Railway Museum, she was instrumental in bringing the new railway station into the town of McLennan.
Part of the executive, Maggie contributes greatly to the McLennan Recreation Board. She is often behind the scenes, applying for casinos and special licences, taking care of books and keeping finances on track. As a very active community group, the recreation board organizes some major events in the community of McLennan and Maggie dedicates endless hours to help prepare and oversee these events, from October Fest to Family Day and East Coat Night.
Nominated by Her Worship Michele Fournier, Mayor, Town of McLennan
Knud Petersen – Lethbridge
Knud has an enviable amount of energy and enthusiasm, which he shares generously in the Lethbridge community. His volunteer contributions span from sport and education to special events. Some prominent local organizations, like Environment Lethbridge, Kodiak Athletics Association, and Pronghorns Booster Club, to name a few, simply would not exist in the community if it was not for Knud, as he was the founding power behind them.
Knud has been involved in various roles with the University of Lethbridge for over 25 years. Most of his time has been spent with the Pronghorn Booster Club, leading and organizing every fundraising event in support of the school’s athletes and coaches.
Recently retired as the University of Lethbridge Senator, Knud has been involved with many special events, from Convocation to the University’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Knud has dedicated over 25 years to the Lethbridge College Kodiak Athletic Association. A former chair and now a board member, Knud continues to advocate for the association and engages the community in many of the sporting events supported by the club. He is also part of a number of committees with the alumni and advancement departments at the college.
Knud is a member of the Lethbridge Hall of Fame. He has spent countless hours looking after the exhibit, and is now establishing a permanent home for the exhibit at the new ATB Centre in order to raise awareness about the local sport history and celebrate lifelong active living.
As Chair for the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA), Knud leads a group of individuals interested in community issues and organizes weekly lunches with speakers on various topics. SACPA is also involved in collaborations with the University of Lethbridge, organizing election forums and a Student Speaker Challenge every year.
Knud has been an indispensable volunteer for the 2015 55+ Alberta Winter Games, the Trampoline and Tumbling National Championships, the U-Cup Hockey Nationals, and now is offering his full support for the 2020 Alberta Summer Games, coming to Lethbridge in July 2020.
Nominated by His Worship Chris Spearman, Mayor, City of Lethbridge