2017 WOW Awards Nominees

CLBC recognizes all nominees for the 2017 Widening Our World (WOW) awards for their efforts to build inclusion, create employment opportunities, and increase people’s access to community and social networks.

Below is a list of all nominees from across British Columbia, including this year’s four WOW Award Winners. You can click on each nominee’s name to find more information about their work in community.

  • South Fraser Region

  • Cam Dore – Abbotsford

    “Over the years, Cam has been a strong ally for self advocates and has volunteered his time to develop our leadership and our voice through the Annual Self Advocate Institute (18 years running) and the Self Advocate Net website (also 18 years). The community gets stronger when people with diverse abilities have allies like Cam that help us to recognize our strengths or wishes and dreams.” – Bryce Schaulfelberger, Nominator

  • Tamara Seebaran – Burnaby

    “Tamara is an employment specialist and she works extremely hard to champions the cause of employment for people with diverse abilities. Tamara works on behalf of the individuals she supports by collaborating with employers and showing a willingness to show them the business case for hiring inclusively.” – Paul McCracken, Nominator

  • Ivor Forest Products Ltd. – Chilliwack

    “The management team of Denis Roy and David Turnbull gave two of our job seekers opportunities to prove themselves and they have fit in well with the Ivor team since being given this chance.  The team at “Ivor” was a diverse group to start and now they have added a new dimension to that inclusiveness. ” – Craig Baker, Nominator

  • Lilian Fast, Manager, London Drugs – Chilliwack

    “Over the past year and a half, Lillian has been a strong advocate for Inclusive Hiring practices, contacting Supported Employment Services directly when needing staff.  After meeting Lillian when our Supported Employment Service visited the store for a Business Tour, Lillian asked if any of the candidates would be interested in applying for work as she was hiring.” – Leah Gill, Nominator

  • Nick Nuraney & John Archibald – Langley (WOW AWARD WINNERS)

    “Nick owns 5+ A&W franchises in the Langley area, and has hired one or more individuals through Partners In Employment to work at each location. Nick first hired Lisa 20+ years ago to make onion rings fresh in-store. She is still there and is the longest employee at that store! John  is the Operations Manager of the Langley stores and is hands-on in hiring each individual. When a new location is being built we are already in conversation about who will be hired upon opening.” – Raeleen Castle, Nominator

  • Rosa Schupbach – Mission

    “Rose uses her own time to advocate. She created a garden at the Provincial Assessment Centre (PAC) and uses aroma therapy, flowers and music to promote wholistic care and connect with communities promoting prevention and healing.” – Zera Somjee, Nominator

  • Alexander Magnussen – Surrey (WOW AWARD WINNER)

    “Alexander is an Inclusion Consultant and Advocate. He speaks to hundreds of people every year, promoting awareness, understanding, inclusion and support for people with diversabilities.” – Jillian Glennie, Nominator

  • Brittney Wicklund – Surrey

    “Brittney is both a Facilitator for Self-Advocacy and other Agency workshops, as well as a Community Support Worker for both Milieu and privately. She helps the community by providing resources and help for the individuals that need it. She does an awesome job in making sure the individuals needs are met, and contributes valuable ideas and information for the Self-Advocacy group. Brittney has worked with many individuals that have required her support in many aspects. This makes her a great asset to an inclusive community. She provides encouragement in a group setting. This is especially for Self-Advocacy, because she helps expose everyone to a growing community and helps empower and strengthen their self-determination and goal setting.” – Julya Hutton, Nominator

  • Jillian Glennie – Surrey

    “Jillian works to make the community a better place for the people CLBC serves. She is the Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo Involvement Coordinator. As part of this role she works make sure the community is engaged and aware of who the Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo (SAS) are; that the community has many opportunities to connect with SAS and see that people with disabilities are capable, are comfortable in typical social activities and settings as well as supporting the community in reaching higher awareness and understanding of people with disabilities.” – Scott Glennie, Nominator

  • Southern Interior Region

  • Ana Yost – Cranbrook

    “Ana works tirelessly at Realm in Cranbrook, an agency that supports inclusion, outreach, employment and real life opportunities through diverse activities. She supports the team daily but focuses on special events like drama productions, that welcome the community and highlight the skills and abilities of those involved.” – Terry Nowak , Nominator

  • Clare Cassan – Kelowna

    “Clare and the Columbia Bottles team work directly with our diverse employees to provide a safe and welcoming work space are the main warehouse here in Kelowna.” – Bonnie Fraser , Nominator

  • Lauren Hawke – Penticton

    “Lauren practices truly person-centred harm reduction, honoring people’s wishes even when it makes the work harder. Lauren and her team work towards true integration to the community.” – Jennifer Gordon, Nominator

  • Sheila Adcock – Trail

    “She is a champion for the homeless population within our community, as well as advocating for those who are unable to navigate complex systems. She works tirelessly, offering help and support to anyone in need.” – Gail Pighin, Nominator

  • Katie Moore – Vernon

    “Katie is working with the group she founded, Okanagan Accessibility, on promoting and encouraging accessibility in the community by encouraging businesses to make changes such as installing easy door openers on public buildings, or adapting public washrooms. As a part of this, Katie is working on a petition to improve the changing facilities at the Vernon Recreation Centre for people with diverse abilities.” – Lin Oldfield , Nominator

  • Lance Elmer – Vernon

    “He helps with my safety and secures a safe environment for me.” – Phillip Jodoin, Nominator

  • Thompson Cariboo and North Region

  • Amber Grimm – Hazelton 

    “Many of the individuals living in Hazelton don’t have anyone in their lives to advocate on their behalf, so Amber often advocates on her own for the rights of anyone who crosses her path. She goes above and beyond for people with disabilities, often brainstorming and coming up with fresh new ideas to promote inclusion and connect clients to resources.” – Frankie Abel , Nominator

  • Dorothy Kusz  – Kamloops

    “Dorothy is making Kamloops a better place for people with developmental disabilities by providing meaningful employment to multiple people with disabilities (including Kalei who is pictured here).” – Bria Gatien, Nominator

  • Linda Shaw – Kamloops

    “She helps me edit my stories for my newsletter, and is very proud of my achievements. She helped give me suggestions on how to write my story for the Canada 150 yearbook that was put out by CBC Canada in November. She also loves me and cares about me and supports me in running my own business. She is a great advocate in my life.” – Krystian Shaw , Nominator

  • Christy Wheeler – Quesnel

    “Christy supports individuals with mobility issues to speak with local business owners about accessibility issues. She is very active with taking individuals out in the community, whether that be going out for coffee, accessing the Rec Centre, swimming and using the gym, or going to the library and the museum. Christy ensures that all individuals she supports take part in cultural events that are happening in the community.” – Quesnel Community Living Association, Nominator

  • Juanita McKinnon – Williams Lake

    “I feel Juanita and her staff offer a lot of care and compassion to the clients they work with. I care for my special needs sister and I have seen so much inclusion and love throughout the center.” – Rachel Hance, Nominator

  • Vancouver Coastal Region

  • Brenda Wilkes  – Gibsons

    “Brenda is the local Health Services for Community Living nurse on the Sunshine Coast. She is a tireless medical professional who not only does an amazing job within her professional duties, but has a heart of gold that extends to her actions in the community. She is a strong advocate for the needs of her patients. As well, she works beyond her defined duties to raise and procure funds to run an Adaptive Fitness Program for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. This is a specifically designed Fitness Program to help create an inclusive and barrier free fitness environment so all may participate.” – Andrea Hryciw , Nominator

  • Deepak Virk – North Vancouver 

    “Deepak is both the originator of the idea, and the person leading Cascadia’s monthly Soup and Sandwich program. The soup is taken down to Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, one of the poorest districts in the country known for its issues around homelessness and addiction. Our companions (those with developmental disabilities) and co-workers meet the day before and make soup and 200 sandwiches. Companions (with permission of their guardians) are always very interested to accompany coworkers down to the Park to serve the visitors.” – Franz Feigl, Nominator

  • Ruth Tschannen – North Vancouver

    “Ruth Tschannen has lived and worked with people with developmental disabilities for 30 years. Helping people with developmental disabilities is her work, her life and her passion. Ruth joined the Cascadia Society for Social Working at its founding in 2000. We are nominating Ruth for this year’s WOW awards for both her long-term vision and leadership qualities with regards to our community’s Fairy Tale performances.” – Franz Feigl, Nominator

  • Shari Mahar – Pitt Meadows

    “Shari has been involved with Community Integration Services Society (CISS), which was founded in 1990, for over 27 years, 12 of which as Executive Director. CISS is a non profit organization that supports people with disabilities to improve life skills, increase social inclusion and participation, and find meaningful, paid employment. Shari ensures that each individual supported by CISS leads an increasingly fulfilling life. Broader connections related to goals, pursuit of employment related activities and skill building are top priority to Shari.” – Lee Weisgarber, Nominator

  • Lee Weisgarber – Port Coquitlam

    “Lee is the Director of Community Inclusion Services for Community Integration Services Society. She creates opportunities to access employment and recreation.” – Bijan Heydarian,  Nominator

  • Renee Rossi  – Port Coquitlam

    “Renee has made connections with inclusive employers within the Tri-Cities community to assist job seekers in their quest for employment. She has overseen the success for several people she supports in employment.” – Krystina Kaban, Nominator

  • Rob Loxterkamp – Port Coquitlam

    “Rob has gone above and beyond to create custom positions for people with in the City of Port Coquitlam so anyone who may want to volunteer can have a place to do so. He adapted a recreation park host position so that a client with Cerebral Palsy can build employment skills to reach his dream job of working in the retail sector.” – Ali Vrzal, Nominator

  • Robert Sullivan – Port Coquitlam

    “Rob Sullivan has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure all participants that he interacts with at the City of Port Coquitlam are all taken care of. He has inspired others to take on a person centered approach to serving the people of his community and truly believes that everyone regardless of their barrier should have a purposeful place in community.” – Ali Vrzal, Nominator

  • Tanya Philcox – Port Coquitlam

    “Tanya works tirelessly to ensure the goals of her clients and others that she supports are met. This often means doing extra research and coordinating research from multiple sources to get the goal met. She has made great strides for our clients in the employment sector, supporting them to become independent at their jobs.” – Ali Vrzal, Nominator

  • Tina Furness  – Port Coquitlam

    “Her everyday attitude exudes her amazing inclusive personality. She breaks down barriers both visible and invisible every where she goes. Tina works hard to increase the quality of life for her clients by providing opportunities for growth personally, in the home and in the community.” – Ali Vrzal, Nominator

  • Kaytee Kilgour – Vancouver

    “I went to 3H craftworks with an idea for building some therapeutic items but I had no idea how to do that. Kaytee exlained to me that she trains adults with barriers to employment including people with developmental disabilities, mental health struggles and brain injuries. I knew that I want my company to be an ethical, social enterprise and so it was a good fit. Katy did all she could to make sure that the people she supported learned how to build my items and she went out of her way to share some of their stories (with their permission) on how working adds worth to their lives.” – Mara St.Onge, Nominator

  • Derek McQuillen – Vancouver

    “Derek is working to support youth in work place settings as a Work Experience Facilitator. As well, he chairs the Vancouver CLBC Community Council and spends countless hours of his free time to make the community more inclusive for people with diverse abilities. He walks the walk and talks the talk all the time!” – Pam Neuman, Nominator

  • Jim Diggins  – Vancouver

    “Jim is the Coach of the West Point Grey Canucks, a ball hockey team for young adults with developmental disabilities. Jim has coached every Friday evening since 2010 at the local community centre, providing the team members with his sense of humour, warmth, concern and genuine interest in each player. He also works them hard. He expects them to participate fully in drills, support one another to be successful and to work as a real team. All are fitter than when they started and have become good players. They identify as a team and for the first time in many of their lives, they belong.” – Norah Flaherty, Nominator

  • Vancouver Island Region

  • Bryan Phelan – Courtenay

    “Bryan has been facilitating golf lessons for individuals with developmental disabilities for two years. He fundraises with other non-profit community groups to lower the cost of lessons so that they are affordable for everyone. He volunteers his own personal time and resources to assist with transportation for any individual needing rides, as well as providing additional teaching lessons for participants who have extra availability and time to learn. He often has asked which adaptations he can make or purchase supplies in order to ease any increased anxiety levels or physical difficulties for his participants.” – Lydia Neville and Michael McLellan, Nominator

  • Peggy Nancarrow – Esquimalt (WOW AWARD WINNER)

    “Peggy runs a sing along group for adults with disabilities every week. They are encouraged to lead the group in singing and to sing for other people. People always look forward to these events. ” – Albert Stadt, Nominator

  • DeviANTS Theatre Troupe – Victoria

    “The theatre troupe is breaking down barriers by promoting the abilities of people with diversabilities and introducing members of the arts community to this amazing group of people. Two to three times per year and each week the individuals are given a chance to put their thoughts and ideas into performance pieces that are often funny, sometimes heartbreaking and always thought provoking. By presenting their perspective in the arts community, individuals are able to explore and present themes on mental health, relationships, emotions, inclusion and celebration.” – Nicki Allan, Nominator

  • Eve Reinarz – Nanaimo (WOW AWARD WINNER)

    “Eve is a CLBC service provider who operates a small program that assists individuals in moving out on their own and gaining independence. This is only a very small portion of what she does, as she truly believes in individuals being part of their community! She has been and is involved in a number of grass roots community building initiatives. For example: Self Advocates Nanaimo (SAN), Start With Art Nanaimo (SWAN), and Good Food Box Nanaimo. Eve’s work is never limited to only people with diverse abilities – she truly works with community, many of whom happen to have diverse abilities.” – Central Island Community Council, Nominator

  • Glenys Patmore – Nanaimo

    “Mrs. Glenys Patmore has been an active advocate for inclusion since May 2014 when she became head of the Clay Tree Society in Nanaimo. She comes from a very successful business background and is keenly aware of the need for inclusion in her community. With the current CLBC philosophy of inclusion and continued learning, Ms. Patmore opened the eyes of staff, parents, caregivers and participants to the idea of community awareness. With her direction and the help of many, Clay Tree is now enjoying involvement in many civic activities.” – Linda Lobello, Nominator

  • Linda Lobello – Nanaimo

    “Ms. Linda Lobello has dedicated her working career to the support of people with developmental disabilities since 1981. In the past 8.5 years, I have had the opportunity to work side by side with Ms. Lobello. She has helped create programming that enhances the participants of Clay Tree Society to gain access to the community. Her reputation in preparing individuals for employment and her ability to help create a semi- independent lifestyle are unparalleled.” – Brenda Booth, Nominator

  • Graham Boardman – Saanich

    “Graham volunteers for the drama group at the Frederic Ozanam Community Inclusion Program. His enthusiasm and dedication to the plays put on by Ozanam for the community is amazing. The confidence gained by participants in the plays is very apparent. The participants beam with pride in themselves and their peers.” – Lisa Van Veelen, Nominator

  • Magda Van Zyl – Sidney

    “In the past two and a half years, Magda came to Ozanam Centre every Tuesday, helping our participants with reading, gardening, cooking and crafting. Our participants were very happy to have have her coming. It was a great opportunity for them to develop their social skills and she helped them feel more confidence.” – Mei Zhang and Agnieszka Stefan, Nominators

  • Jessica Pesant – Sooke

    “Jessica’s work makes Sooke a friendly and accepting community for everyone. With a little accommodation, kids with disabilities can and do enjoy all kinds of recreation – it is great for others in the community to see there is no ‘us’ and ‘other-‘ we are all just people who love to be outside and play!” – Nicolette McGuire, Nominator

  • Cherry Schellenberg – Victoria 

    “Cherry operates Cherries Breakfast Bistro, a small business that serves as a cornerstone for the local community as a meeting place where people, patrons and employees are welcomed and family is a priority.” – Philip Traynor, Nominator

  • Cara Calibaba – Victoria

    “Cara comes to our day program and provides adaptive yoga classes for our participants and staff. Cara’s philosophy is all about inclusion. She doesn’t want yoga to be an exclusive practice. We have been doing yoga classes with our participants over the past several years but I have never seen the enthusiasm and joy that I see when Cara teaches! Our participants are more engaged, focused, and excited with Cara’s teaching. She is full of positive energy and encouragement.” – Jocelynn Johannesson, Nominator

  • Demika Palmer – Victoria

    “Demika is the swim instructor at Gordon Head Pool that teaches participants how to improve their swimming strokes. She helps people feel comfortable in the water and focus on their improvements of self-esteem, confidence and empowerment.” – Richard Normand, Nominator

  • George Jamieson – Victoria

    “Since we’re volunteering at the James Bay Community Project, George has been helping our participants with connecting and building community together. He’s fun and happy all the time.” – Agnieszka Stefan, Nominator

  • Maria Van Sloun – Victoria

    “Maria volunteers every Monday to help the participants from the Frederic Ozanam Community Inclusion Program make a huge pot of soup from scratch. The participants have gained enormous confidence. Maria has created a warm, caring and socially inclusive environment for our participants.” – Lisa Van Veelen, Nominator

  • Susannah Andersen – Victoria

    “Susannah brings in her Jack Russel, Sarah, to our community inclusion program at Frederic Ozanam Community Inclusion Program every week. Susannah and Sarah have contributed to our participants’ social skills with others and have definitely brightened their lives.” – Lisa Van Veelen, Nominator

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