Amber Anderson C.C.C.

As the Executive Director of Hope Action Values Ethics (H.A.V.E.) Culinary Training Society, Amber has impacted countless lives. In 2007, Amber was asked to develop a school and cafe in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to offer culinary training to some of the province’s most marginalized people. Through H.A.V.E., Amber fosters community, instilling confidence in each of her students as they work towards graduation and beyond. When COVID forced Amber to close the school and cafe, she quickly reinvented H.A.V.E. to continue the work. Today she focuses on providing nutritious meals for the local community, hiring H.A.V.E. students as catering cooks, while also securing funding to offer free meals to the homeless. Amber’s empathy and generosity of spirit has helped more than 1,300 people shift their story to a more hopeful one.

Amber Anderson was named the 2021 Mitchell Award recipient. Named in honour of Keith Mitchell QC, the Mitchell Award recognizes an individual who, through his or her work and volunteer activities, has demonstrated 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. Keith Mitchell 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.

Dr. Christine Loock

Christine is a developmental pediatrician at Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia, including Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and BC Children’s Hospital. For over 20 years she has also served as the medical director of the provincial Cleft Palate Craniofacial Program. Early on in her medical training Christine developed an interest in “Social Pediatrics” advocating for innovative approaches for health service delivery to vulnerable children and families. She has pioneered work on identifying youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the justice system and was instrumental in creating FASD-related programs and services run out of Crabtree Corner Community Resource Centre. Her ‘Key Worker Program’ has been particularly life-changing for the community as it provides one-to-one and group support to families affected by FASD. A mentor to many, Christine also led the development of the RICHER (Responsive, Intersectoral, Interdisciplinary, Child & Community, Health Education & Research) Social Pediatrics Program in BC and initiatives with the Canadian Pediatrics Society, where she is a founding member of the Social Pediatrics section. An Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC, Christine’s ground-breaking research and networks of interdisciplinary and intersectoral care delivery, improve the lives and circumstances of some of Vancouver’s most vulnerable people.

 

Pulchérie Nketsap Mboussi

Since arriving in Canada almost three decades ago, Pulchérie has devoted her life to promoting an environment in which all Canadians can experience and learn the cultures, history and traditions of the African continent. In 2012, she created the African Arts and Cultural Society  to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation for the richness and diversity of African and Caribbean cultures. Pulchérie also launched ISSAMBA (Cameroonian Beti dialect meaning ‘Come Together’), a group of world-renowned African musicians and dancers whose energetic and interactive performances have captured the imagination of audiences throughout the Province. In 2017, Pulchérie began advocating for the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent: five municipalities in the Capital Regional District have since adopted the Proclamation. In 2020, Pulchérie reached a major milestone by opening the ISSAMBA Centre, the first physical hub for people of African descent on Vancouver Island.

 

Nirmal Parmar

Nirmal moved to Terrace from India in 1969 with his young family and quickly became one of the city’s most prolific volunteers. He volunteered with the Thornhill Fire Department early on and in 1984 Nirmal, along with a number of like-minded individuals, started a new multicultural group, which eventually became The Terrace and District Multicultural Association. In the last 50 years Nirmal has organized, facilitated and delivered innumerable multicultural-focused workshops for community groups and schools in the Terrace area. In 2000, Nirmal teamed up with other community groups to address the issue of institutional racism in the workplace and schools which resulted in the creation of the Skeena Diversity Society. Nirmal has also served as a board member and/or trustee for the Kermode Friendship Society, Terrace Public Library, Northern Saving Credit Union, Terrace Co-operative Association, Terrace and Area Health Council, Scouts Canada and Vanderhoof & Districts Co-operative Association.

 

Lil Mack

Lil has been an ever-present, quietly powerful literacy force in Williams Lake for many decades. As one of the founders of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Partners for Literacy in 1997, Lil continues to keep literacy front and center, promoting early childhood, adult, and financial literacy. With her late husband Bruce, she implemented the “Bright Red Bookshelf”, a book-sharing platform with shelves all over Williams Lake. Her own home has become a mini-library with a “Take a book” box in the front yard. Lil initiated various festivals for families: Baby Fest, Children’s Fest, and Family Fest, where she staffed a table to give away free books, packed in homemade book bags. She was also instrumental in the first “Relay for Life” Cancer Fundraiser held in Williams Lake in 2005. Lil and her daughter Rana brought the “Roots of Empathy” program to the community in an effort to address residential school-based intergenerational trauma. Lil’s “no job is too big” motto helped grow the group to 26 facilitators across the region.

*photo credit – Monica Lamb-Yorski, Williams Lake Tribune

Linda Williams

As Chair of the Coast Cultural Alliance, Linda has shaped the arts community on the Sunshine Coast. Since 1999 Linda has coordinated the Sunshine Coast Purple Banner Tour Guide and starting in 2010, the annual Sunshine Coast Arts Crawl an event that has grown to featuring over 350 local artists and contributed to the economic and cultural vitality of the Sunshine Coast. She is instrumental in supporting local musicians and helped to establish a youth endowment with the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation to provide grants to young musicians. Her initiatives have stood the test of time and are now sustainably woven into the rhythms of her community. Linda is Chair of the Sunshine Coast Jazz and Entertainment Society, and festival director for the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival. Known as a person who brings people and ideas together, Linda leads and performs in the Knotty Dotters Marimba Band and is the musical director with the Sokole Balkan singers. All these initiatives have been hit hard by the pandemic and Linda remains a strong advocate as she navigates the current challenges to bring arts and culture to the Sunshine Coast in new and imaginative ways.

Dr. Balbir Gurm

Balbir’s achievements both professionally and as a dedicated volunteer have inspired her colleagues and community alike. A longtime advocate for women, Balbir is the founder and chair of the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships. For the past decade, she has been a source of strength and leadership, working to break down gender and cultural barriers, facilitating collaboration between volunteers and external groups, while striving toward the common goal of preventing relationship violence. Last year, Balbir authored, Making Sense of Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence & Working Together towards a Violence Free Society. As a Nursing Professor, Balbir is a role model for students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, inspiring them to become fellow agents for change. For decades, Balbir has used education, research, and community engagement to advocate for violence prevention. She is truly a champion for women, and a trailblazer within her community.

Marcia Nozick

Marcia is widely recognized as a pioneer in community economic development. Her book, No Place Like Home: Building Sustainable Communities, challenged thousands of planners to rethink the way cities integrate social, economic and environmental solutions into urban development. Early in her career she mobilized government, business, and community leaders to address underlying social and economic problems in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver BC. Ultimately Marcia founded EMBERS, an innovative charity that uses business to create social change. She grew the organization to a successful, multi-million dollar social enterprise before this type of business structure was well-known. Today, EMBERS continues to grow its economic and social impact: in 2020, EMBERS employed 2,500 individuals, paid over $12 M in wages/benefits, and provided skills training to more than 400 people.

Teresa Kazemir

BC Hands & Voices is a parent-driven organization that serves families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH.) It’s thanks to Teresa’s unwavering and inspired leadership that BC Hands & Voices has been able to support hundreds of families, providing them access to networks, resources, information and community. Teresa’s philosophy of ‘we can’t do everything, but we can do something’ helped to grow BC Hands & Voices into the sustainable, strong organization it is today. As an advocate, volunteer and leader, Teresa’s efforts mean that families across BC have consistent access to parent-to-parent support. Known for her patience, her valiant work ethic and her infectious enthusiasm, Teresa is a much loved figure in the DHH community.