Kal Dosanjh, excellence in community service

Photo: 2021 Community Awardee, Kal Dosanjh

Kal Dosanjh’s vision for youth is reshaping a community while building and lifting up a generation.

With over twenty years of law enforcement experience, Detective Kal Dosanjh spent considerable time serving Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. During patrol duties Kal was exposed to the challenging realities faced by the community. “I saw a steady stream of kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds not having the same opportunities as others and getting into drug and gang life.” He realized that society was quick to point a finger at these youth and focus on their shortcomings, but very few were doing anything to provide these kids with opportunities to succeed. “That’s when I had enough and from that came the idea for creating a program that focused on providing youth with constructive outlets.”

Photo: KidsPlay Foundation team members

Kal launched KidsPlay Foundation to give kids the opportunity to become involved in sports and other recreational and volunteer activities – helping them build a sense of belonging, self-worth and providing them with mentors who inspire them to see viable choices other than the dangerous life of drugs and gangs.

The Foundation offers free high quality educational initiatives, sports programming, comprehensive after school mentorship and volunteer opportunities. The organization has been involved in many local initiatives and forums including partnering with the city of Surrey’s Adopt-A-Street program, tree-planting, street -clean up, supporting those affected by the recent extreme cold weather, sending supplies to those hardest hit by BC’s floods, organizing toy drives for local charities and more.

Under his guidance and leadership as Chief Executive Officer of KidsPlay Foundation, the organization now has over 500 volunteers and approximately 70,000 youth who have participated in KidsPlay programs since its inception in 2015. And it’s expanded with growing numbers of participants in Calgary, Toronto, and even in Punjab, India.

As a result of his efforts, Kal has been the recipient of multiple community leadership awards, including the Community Award in 2021.

Photo: 2021 Community Awardee, Kal Dosanjh

Kal is quick to deflect the attention when it comes to commendation on his leadership success. “Leadership is not denotated by title. Leadership is inherent in someone’s action: giving resources, tools, amenities they need to help others succeed. You want others to be able to take charge. A good leader is a good follower and helps create other leaders.”

His goal for the Foundation is to help identify young individuals within the community with a passion to serve. “These youth are given ample opportunity and a stable platform to give back to the community through programs that cultivate their leaderships skills and enriches their character. These young leaders will be the crest of the wave which positively influences the next generation, and so forth, so that the community work continues in perpetuity.“

His proudest moment at KidsPlay? “Thirty of these kids becoming law enforcement officers. When they started at KidsPlay, they were just kids, I was proud to be part of their journey, and now they are role models themselves.”

Kal’s community service does not end there. He sees gaps in outreach to vulnerable youth. “Some are still drawn into drugs and gangs because of money and lifestyle, acceptance and identity.” He sees that more has to be done, especially in unifying the resources, skills and efforts of law enforcement, schools, and non-profits. “We need to help these kids from slipping through the cracks.” Kal also advocates for families working together to prevent youth from taking up a dangerous lifestyle. “These topics need to be addressed within families and between families. We fail to connect with other families that might be suffering. We should all step it up and support each other.”

To find out more about the work of the KidsPlay Foundation, go to kidsplayfoundation.com

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.   

Indigenous Business Award program – saluting Teck’s commitment

Recognizing Indigenous businesses that are generating economic development opportunities, creating partnerships and shaping communities is one of the key goals of the Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program. For the past 13 years, over 200 outstanding Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs have been celebrated, their stories shared, and their achievements continue to inspire change. It is the inspiration which defines another goal of the IBA program – as these business success stories lead the way for others to follow. 

BC Achievement is privileged to share these stories and elevate Indigenous business throughout the province. A film archive dedicated to the IBA program speaks to the ongoing and developing importance of Indigenous business in BC’s economy. The archive serves as a resource and learning tool accessible to all through BC Achievement’s YouTube channel. We are indebted to the program’s sponsorship family who share our collective goals to elevate excellence, share success and, in doing so, inspire change.   

Since 2010, Teck has been a committed supporter of the IBA program contributing financial resources and amplifying the important stories of Indigenous business success. Teck’s annual investment helps develop BC Achievement’s vision to offer awardees and their supporters an authentic space to showcase their achievements, build bridges between BC’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous economies, and celebrate success, diversity and inclusion. 

In the Fall of 2021, Teck once again demonstrated its commitment to the IBA program entering into a three-year agreement as the program’s presentation sponsor. We salute Teck for its generousity. It is a valued partner in the program’s delivery, and we are grateful to Teck for its foresight in offering three years of funding to support the IBA program cycle through the nomination, selection and recognition phases. We are excited to work toward the June 1 launch of the 2022 IBA program and anticipate another strong campaign to #nominatenowbc

Thanks to Teck’s multi-year support, the IBA program will continue to raise the voices of Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses who are building significant socio-economic opportunities and generating cultural resurgence across the province; facilitate increased Indigenous representation in the business sector; and create a platform for sharing stories of resilience and ingenuity to help ‘shift the narrative and deficit that are often at the forefront of news stories’. 

More information about Teck’s Indigenous Peoples Policy can be found here.  

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Stan Bevan – a lifetime as a master carver

Photo: Stan Bevan, 2021 Award of Distinction, Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

“As an artist you’re just touching the surface of everything that’s out there to understand. You’re learning from each piece, trying to bring out the power of not only the old, but the innovation of yourself.” 

Stan Bevan’s understated demeanor easily hides the impressive accomplishments of his forty years as a carver of masks, totem poles and woodcuts. Presented with the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art in 2011, ten years later his lifetime of achievement was highlighted when he received the Award of Distinction designation. The distinction is presented annually to an established artist in recognition of extraordinary and sustained accomplishment in First Nations Art in BC. As part of this elite group of artists, Stan has helped ensure that BC is a place filled with astonishing craft, with unique and immensely expressive power and continuous wonder. 

Born in Terrace, BC, Stan was raised by his Tahltan-Tlingit mother and his Tsimshian father. He began his formal training at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art after which he completed an extensive apprenticeship with his uncle, Dempsey Bob, a master artist who helped revive northwest coast art and is the inaugural recipient of the Fulmer Award of Distinction designation.

“My uncle would help me understand what direction I wanted to bring my art in, developing my own individual style.” 

In the decades that followed his training, Stan committed to being a full-time artist and created substantial projects that solidified his expertise, superbly innovative design and his impeccable attention to detail.  

Photo: 2021 Award of Distinction, Stan Bevan

One of Stan’s most significant projects has been the design and creation of the artwork at the Kitselas Cultural and Interpretation Centre at the Kitselas Canyon National Historic site.  

“I was able to bring back a pole that had history and also create my own version of the story as a place where children and elders gather and take pride in who they are because they can identify themselves through the art in their community.” 

Instrumental in the creation of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace, Stan is committed to passing on his highly valued knowledge to others. As the head instructor/program coordinator Stan leads the program management and curriculum delivery while overseeing numerous initiatives such as a visiting artist program and creating an international educational network. 

“Teaching has become an important part of my art. To see some of the students that I work with go on and become practicing artists, it’s satisfying.” 

A highly respected member of his community, Stan’s longevity as a First Nations artist has come from the tutelage of his elders, commitment to his practice, and the teaching of his art to younger generations. He’s aware that there’s still much to learn. 

“Being able to have these relationships with other people in the art world grows you as an artist. It’s the exchange of ideas that’s helping evolve the art.” 

Stan has produced an impressive body of work and is credited with bringing about a revival of Tlingit art and design. Not one to seek accolades, Stan Bevan gracefully sums up his thoughts on receiving the Award of Distinction, Fulmer Award in First Nations Art. 

“I’m honoured to be recognized for this year’s BC Achievement Foundation Award of Distinction. I feel it acknowledges and encourages the positive direction in the progression of the art here in the north.” 

And selflessly he shares that “it is important to recognize excellence to set standards and inspire the next generation.” 

Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring artists who are finding their own path. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.    

Community Award deadline of January 31 is fast approaching – nominate a change maker today!

The Community Award celebrates British Columbians who go above and beyond in their dedication and service to others. It honours individuals who devote time and energy to making their communities more caring, dynamic, beautiful, healthy and inclusive. The opportunity to nominate someone for the 2022 Community Award is open until midnight January 31. 

Since 2004, the Award program acknowledges and celebrates the transformative efforts of individuals who raise the quality and character of their community and, in doing so, inspires others to do the same.  

Selected by an independent jury, the 25 recipients will be announced in May 2022. 

Who is eligible

British Columbians who have made a significant contribution to their communities are eligible to be nominated for the Community Award. Their contributions must have taken place in BC either through volunteer or professional work in the areas including but not limited to: arts & culture, business innovation, civic duty & public service, communications & media, education, environment & sustainability, healthcare, information & technology, multiculturalism, philanthropy, sports & recreation, youth or seniors’ leadership. 

Please check the website for exceptions. 

How to nominate 

It’s easy, the nomination form is online at bcachievement.com – you can complete the form online and attach supporting documents directly through the website. And if you get stuck, BC Achievement staff are available to help by contacting info@bcachievement.com or calling 604-261-9777. 

Getting ready to nominate 

Before you complete the online nomination form, gather the information required to submit and make the process efficient. You’ll need the nominee’s contact information, a summary of their background information or their resumé. Make sure you include a support letter from yourself as the nominator. As well, have two support letters from other individuals or organizations that describe the value and impact of the nominee’s contributions.  

If you have additional materials you think would be useful to the jury’s deliberations, you can include newspaper articles, video or recorded testimonials, additional support letters, links to YouTube videos, photos or website links; up to a maximum of five items. 

The jury awaits! Submit your nominations before midnight on January 31! #nominatenowbc

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.    


The late Keith Mitchell leaves behind a legacy of exceptional commitment to community service

Photo: Keith Mitchell, QC, BC Achievement Founding Chair

Keith Mitchell, QC served as the BC Achievement Foundation’s Founding Chair and guiding light for 13 years. A leader by example and a mentor at heart, Keith brought clarity to the role of the foundation in its mission to celebrate excellence in British Columbia.

“We all remember with great affection and respect our founding Chair Keith Mitchell, QC, in whose honour the BC Achievement Foundation launched the Mitchell Award of Distinction, given annually to one of the Community Award recipients.” Anne Giardini, OC, OBC, QC, Chair, BC Achievement Board.

Keith passed away on October 26, 2021, and his legacy continues through the annual Mitchell Award of Distinction designation, established in 2017, as part of the Community Award program. The designation recognizes an individual who, through his or her work and volunteer activities, demonstrates an exceptional commitment to elevating the community in which they live, and those who serve it. The recipient has a unique and selfless leadership style that encourages and inspires the full participation of those he or she leads. Five outstanding leaders have received the Mitchell Award designation to date: George Laverock 2017, Kim van der Woerd 2018, Ellen Woodsworth 2019, Dom Bautista 2020, and Amber Anderson 2021.

Photo: 2021 Mitchell Awardee, Amber Anderson C.C.C.

Chef Amber Anderson’s accomplishments in establishing a culinary training school and café for those living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with the Hope Action Values Ethics (HAVE) Culinary Training Society have had a huge impact on the community.

Since 2007 Amber has successfully led the society – a non-profit, registered charity and social enterprise that provides food service job training and work opportunities to all individuals who experience barriers to employment. Using food to help people, to build a community has been part of Amber’s life for more than 20 years. Her distinctive style creates an equal playing field for all who engage with HAVE. Inclusion drives her instruction and her ability to build people up, support and help them defines the intent of the Mitchell Award which signals out those whose leadership empowers others. 

Amber is a dedicated leader, and we look forward to watching her contributions over the years to come.

The 2022 Community Award is accepting nominations until January 31, 2022. Nominate a deserving individual and help elevate excellence, share success and inspire change. #nominatenowbc

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.   

British Columbia Reconciliation Award nominations close January 15

Photo: 2021 Crabtree McLennan Artist, Cole Speck, Reconciliation paddle

Following the successful inaugural offering of the 2021 British Columbia Reconciliation Award, BC Achievement, in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, launched the second British Columbia Reconciliation Award program with nominations open from November 15, 2021 until January 15, 2022.

The inaugural 2020 program received an outstanding province-wide response reflecting the remarkable contributions so many British Columbians are making toward reconciliation.

The recipients of the first British Columbia Reconciliation Award were honoured for demonstrating exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of British Columbia, or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts.

Individual Recipients:

Dawn Drummond
Xele’milh-Doris Paul
Corey Payette
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Dr. David Suzuki
Corporal Christopher Voller

Organization Recipients:

Carrier Sekani Family Services
Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast
xaȼqanaǂ ʔitkiniǂ (Many Ways of Doing the Same Thing) Research Team

“Being part of establishing the reconciliation award program and serving on the inaugural selection committee has been heartwarming and empowering. Reviewing all the nominations has shown me the power of reconciliation and how it can change people and community’s lives for the better. It shows we can live together and achieve great things if there are willing people working towards a vision of reconciliation.”
BC Achievement Board Member Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], OBC 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. In honour of this legacy, this year’s recipients received a framed print of a canoe paddle painted by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck.

Nominations for the 2022 British Columbia Reconciliation Award are open until January 15 at bcachievement.com #nominatenowbc

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.   

Exceptional leaders for BC communities

Photo: 2021 Awardee, Balbir Gurm

It was an eventful year in British Columbia, to say the least. With fires, floods, discovery of the unmarked graves, the overdose crisis and the persistence of the pandemic, it’s been challenging to see the good bits of 2021.

But there have been good bits! Really good things have happened in this province because of the generosity, support and resilience of the people who live here.

The helpers,
the heroes,
the dedicated volunteers,
role models,
champions for the underserved,
fearless advocates,
the quintessentially good neighbours; and
the innovative changemakers in reconciliation.

These folks stand out because of their exceptional service and leadership to people in their communities.

In 2021 BC Achievement was honoured to receive many nominations for such people for both the British Columbia Reconciliation Award and the Community Award. And through these nominations, we were pleased to present 25 individuals or pairs with the Community Award, including Balbir Gurm, a nursing professor and founder of NEVR – Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships. A role model and champion for women, Balbir Gurm advocates for violence prevention, helping break down cultural and gender barriers.

We were impressed with the response to the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, receiving nominations for individuals and organizations who have stepped up to create unique and respectful ways to furthering the Principles of Reconciliation. Six individuals and three organizations were bestowed the inaugural Award recognition in 2021. One of the recipients, Dr. David Suzuki, is world-renowned environmentalist who has spent a lifetime advancing reconciliation. Through his foundation, he has formed partnerships through shared insights of science and traditional knowledge, resulting in successes like the preservation of the Great Bear Rain Forest.

Photo: 2021 Awardee, Dr. David Suzuki

There are so many more passionate British Columbians whose actions make a positive difference for those who live and work here. This year let’s recognize these changemakers for their dedication and nominate them for either the Community Award or the British Columbia Reconciliation Award. Deadlines are coming up – January 15 at midnight for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award and January 31 at midnight for the Community Award. #nominatenowbc

Nomination forms, tips, and award program information can be found at British Columbia Reconciliation Award and Community Award pages on bcachievement.com

We hope to hear from you soon!

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.