Award alumni on building resilience

There’s an analogy about our current world situation right now that feels quite relevant: we are all in individual boats while battling the same storm. 

That’s why our individual responses to the pandemic are so, well, individual. Conversations with alumni from each of BC Achievement’s programs have revealed a myriad of responses on survival during the pandemic. While some are continuing to create art as usual from a home studio, others may have paused their businesses, while even more alumni are charging forward with their art, business, or supporting local organizations and their communities. 

Indigenous Business Awardee, Denise Halfyard has pivoted from floral design to creating beautiful beaded jewellery, connecting with her Wet’suwet’en, Tsimshian and Gitxsan culture. Mary Anne Cooper, 2020 Community Award recipient, says that hard work, perseverance and appreciating community connectedness are the keys to getting through tough times and she continues to advocate for a community space in the historic Ioco townsite. Applied Art + Design awardee Claudia Schulz has expanded her hat making to creating stylistic face masks. It’s a wonderful combination of design and creativity meeting a business and health need. 

Psychologists from the American Psychology Association define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. Resilience is like a muscle, we all have it, but the more you use it, the faster and stronger your response gets. It becomes important to build resilience which allows us to get through challenging circumstances, but it also empowers us to grow and improve our lives along the way. Somehow it makes our boat in the storm a little less rocky. 

Each alum we’ve connected with has shared stories which reflect how they’ve built resilience during these last two months. What seemed like a challenge a few months ago has become a way-of-life. And, although they may not know it, each person is strengthening their respective ‘muscle’ – the resilience one – which will serve them well in the months to come. 

Strengthening our communities through collaboration

While our worlds may feel smaller since we are staying at home and maintaining limited social circles, in some ways, professional worlds are getting bigger.

We have seen growing collaborations between businesses to collectively solve problems. For example, Mustang Survival and Arc’teryx joined forces to create protective gowns for frontline healthcare workers. These two companies, awardees of the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design, came together to find an innovative solution using each of their skill sets, experience and passion to serve their communities.

Relationships between like-minded organizations have become strengthened as they strive towards helping their constituents. The Community Response Fund was launched by four partners with a long history of building strong communities: Vancouver Foundation, Vancity, United Way Lower Mainland, and the City of Vancouver. These organizations have rallied together to support to help communities in the short term and to build resiliency to help communities and economies thrive.

In the same light BC Achievement is collaborating with Small Business BC to share the stories of Indigenous businesses and to encourage locals to support these entrepreneurs as they work hard to continue to run their services and sell their products. Check out Small Business Marketplace to find out more about how you can post your business with this resource.

One of the things we’ve discovered is that collaborations are happening more often, but that they’re happening more quickly. It seems like everyone has time for a phone call as we’re experiencing more open slots in our schedules. This pronounced pause we’re experiencing has given us the time, space and incentive to join forces for a common good – and in doing so, strengthen our communities.

#shinethelightbc honouring the 2020 Community Awardees

On April 27th, BC Achievement announced the names of 25 impressive recipients of the 17th annual Community Award. Hailing from regions throughout BC and reflecting the diversity of this remarkable province, these awardees represent what it means to be the change you want to see in the world.  

The selection committee tasked with reviewing nominations and determining the list of recipients had a difficult job of selecting only 25 individuals for the award; a challenge given the high calibre of the nominations, each worthy of recognition for their contributions. The committee found that there is no shortage of people who lead by example, who give back to their communities and, who offer a hand when it’s needed.  

The Community Award program allows BC Achievement to shine a light on these such individuals by honouring their excellence. And, in doing so, provides the opportunity to share the contributions of unsung heroes and role models, whose stories often go unheard. In stewarding these cultural heroes, BC Achievement aims to inspire others to step up and build more connected communities. In the context of COVID-19, this call to action is needed now more than ever. 

This year’s cohort of awardees creates meaningful change in their respective communities, and the cumulative effect of their efforts makes this province stronger, more resilient, more creative, and more viable.  

Each awardee has their own story, their own passion and their own style and way of enhancing their community. They are all change makers through their extraordinary actions, and each carries out their work with humility. They are not looking for accolades, or attention, they are driven by a desire to do better, make better, and share the success of their efforts with those around them. For many the value in the award is the attention it brings to the cause or organization they serve. 

BC Achievement salutes these 25 awardees who are being honoured for their generosity of spirit and their commitment to serve. Join with BC Achievement for the #shinethelightbc campaign for the next 25 days – with daily tributes to each of these outstanding British Columbians who lead by their example. Together, we will lift them up and share their stories and may we all be inspired to be the change we want to see in the world.  

Congratulations and much appreciation to these 2020 Community Awardees: 

Aisha Amijee, Surrey
Dr. Paige Axelrood, Vancouver
Domingo (Dom) Bautista, Richmond
Duncan Bernardo, Vancouver
Morgan Churchill, Fort St. John
Dr. Mary Anne Cooper, Port Moody
Carolyn Duerksen, Prince George
Lorrie Fleming, 70 Mile House
Julie Fowler, Wells
Bonnie Harvey, Cranbrook
Gloria Kravac, Burnaby
Larissa Lapierre, Port Coquitlam
Steven (Steve) Little, Terrace
Jacqueline Macgregor, Chilliwack
Myles Mattila, Kelowna
Valerie Murray, Victoria
Leigh Pearson, Coldstream
Sarjeet Purewal, Surrey
John Ranta, Cache Creek
Ivan Sayers, Vancouver
Steven (Steve) Sorensen, Sooke
Carolina Tatoosh, Port Alberni
Jim Terrion, Prince George
Dr. Andrea Walsh, North Saanich
Shayne Williams, New Westminster

BC Achievement Announces June Launch of Call for Nominations #shinethelightbc

VANCOUVER – Like all British Columbians, BC Achievement is looking to the future as together we move into phase 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The collective support of everyone in our province has made a definitive impact on flattening the curve and we stand side-by-side continuing to support that effort. We raise our hands to all the essential workers who have been on the front lines, keeping us safe and well. Thank you! 

BC Achievement programs are active and poised to launch their respective calls for nominations throughout the month of June. The online process is housed on the foundation’s website with staff available to assist with any questions. Consultations with program partners during the past weeks have revealed a consistent theme that now, more than ever, these programs matter. It’s a critical time to shine a light on excellence in BC. We look forward to receiving all submissions and encourage you to Nominate Now! 

In keeping with our commitment to healthy communities, BC Achievement will not hold its usual program presentation ceremonies this fall and is exploring the opportunity to honour and celebrate awardees in new and powerful ways. The Indigenous Business Award Gala along with BC Achievement’s art ceremonies for both the Fulmer and Carter Wosk Award exhibitions will take on new formats as we reimagine the space where our communities gather. Awardee recognition will be celebrated through a series of visual campaigns which share stories of excellence and inspire achievement.

To that end on Monday, May 11th, please join @BCAchievement for the launch of the #shinethelightbc campaign celebrating the 25 awardees of the 2020 Community Award. Together we will continue to hold each other up and celebrate those who lead the way. 

Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change

Cathryn Wilson
Executive Director
BC Achievement Foundation