The Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards honour extraordinary Albertans whose volunteer achievement contribute to the well-being of their community and fellow community members. The Awards are presented annually on or around International Volunteer Day, December 5th, with two recipients in each category of youth, adult, and senior. In 2020 three Awards were added for a Breaking Barriers category.
I was deeply honored to be nominated by my good friend Kate Quinn and even more excited to be chosen as one of the recipients! Kate is E.D. of CEASE: Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation, where I have spent many hours over the last 20+ years. Supportive words were included from fellow educators Andrea and Juanita with whom I have also spent many hours at STOP: Sex Trade Offender Program as well as other public awareness events and projects.
Most of you know my story. After Cara’s tragic death in 1997, I became an advocate on behalf of all vulnerable young people who had lost their own voice. Early support came from the Victims of Homicide Support Society where, true to form, I served on the executive in early years as well as presenting at national and local conferences.
Many projects preceded my my 2009 retirement, although more time was freed after. I also volunteered 2013-2017 with Walk-In Counselling Services, mentoring grad students and developing a trauma recovery group.
Serendipitous circumstances led me to other interests such as the annual Memorial March in Edmonton, the MMIWG Inquiry, Mufty Mathewson and the Redress Photography Project, a supportive writing group, the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive Program, launching my MissingCara.ca website, and more recently Project Change and the Alberta Avenue Memorial Park.
Stars Alberta asked for photos portraying my activities over the years and it took a while to collect a few. Thanks to all who provided contributions. I’m not yet sure which will be used at the virtual program on Dec 5th but would like to share some of my highlights over the years:
Home for Healing fundraiser ~ 2004
Billboard and Bus Ad Awareness campaign ~ 2006
Roomful of Missing Women exhibition in Edmonton ~ 2008
One of many Men of Honour events ~ 2008
Memorial March for the Missing and Murdered Women of Edmonton – from 2016
“We are the Women” fundraiser ~ International Women’s Day ~ 2015
Redress Photography Project ~ from 2016
MMIWG Inquiry ~ hearings in Edmonton ~ 2017
MissingCara.ca Website launched ~ with publication of manuscript ~ 2018
Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women of Edmonton ~ 2018
Women of Vision ~ supporting amazing women ~ 2018
Edmonton Journal ~ Recognition of Billboard campaign ~ 2018
CEASE annual memorial for those who lost their lives because of sexual exploitation ~ 2018
Legacy magazine ~Edmonton Community Foundation ~ 2018
Filming with Faytene ~ sponsored by YES TV ~ Ontario ~ 2019
STOP: Sex Trade Offenders Program ~ Educators 2019
Take Back the Night ~ Fort Saskatchewan ~ 2019
Strategy Team ~ Advocating recognition and implementation of Equality Model ~ 2020
Convoy for Action ~ in support of the MMIWG Inquiry ~ 2020
Project Change ~ image by photographer Heather Fryer, Visions of Heaphen ~ 2020
Daughter of the Year ~ awarded by Canadians for a Civil Society ~ 2020
Social Work Activists ~ long time colleagues ~ 2020
Carrying on in spite of Covid ~ 2020
Star of Alberta Volunteer ~ awarded by Government of Alberta ~ 2020
Many thanks to all who have inspired and supported my volunteer adventures. It is a privilege to work with such amazing colleagues. Visuals are limited to avoid over-loading computer capacity.