Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mohamed Sofa
Mayor Jim Watson and Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward Councillor Tim Tierney today presented Mohamed Sofa with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at the City Council meeting.
Mr. Sofa is a respected community activist and community builder who has had a significant positive impact through engagement in his neighbourhood by identifying needs and seeking positive solutions. He is a strong role model for youth in the west end of Ottawa and started volunteering and helping neighbourhood youth at an early age. He helped to initiate and implement homework clubs, soccer teams, basketball leagues, sports nights, and celebrations for youth and other community members.
He is one of the founders of Young Somali Professionals of North America-Ottawa Branch (YSPNA-OB) whose mission is to provide professional development and networking opportunities for Somali professionals and to create social and business community enhancement projects and advocacy for Somali professionals in the Ottawa area.
Mr. Sofa is also chairperson of and helped to establish in 2003 the Somali Youth Basketball League (SYBL), a non-profit organization which aims to provide an affordable venue to help youth and young adults, especially those considered to be at risk, develop leadership, social and basketball skills and become more confident. The league serves more than 200 youth from across the city.
He is a member of the board of directors at the Britannia Community House and the Catholic Immigration Centre and as a community youth worker at Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, he supported the development of the Somali Youth Support Project in the west end. He has been instrumental in engaging youth and parents by developing positive relationships and building trust.
Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mr. John Gooch
Mayor Jim Watson, with Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley, today presented Mr. John Gooch with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at the City Council meeting.
Mr. Gooch, 86, who served in the British Army from 1942 to 1947 and emigrated to Canada in 1957, moved to Kanata in 1966 and has been deeply involved in volunteer activities for several decades. As an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 638 in Kanata, John was responsible for fundraising, construction and dedication of Kanata’s Cenotaph, completed in 1998. He subsequently arranged for the donation of 20 trees, each with a memorial plaque, a central stone, flagpole and commemorative plaque for the Cenotaph.
John has remained involved in the annual poppy campaign and in 2001 was instrumental in researching names for community parks in Kanata. His research assisted in the decision to name nine parks after Canadian veterans who served overseas, including five Victoria Cross recipients.
John has received the Kanata Volunteer award, a church volunteer award and the 1998 Mentor Award from the City of Kanata. He is also a Legionnaire, a lifetime member of the Kiwanis Club, a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs Commendation and Insignia granted by the Governor General in 2006.