• Mayor’s City Builder Award – Ruweida Shire

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Ruweida Shire for her volunteer activities and selfless contributions in Ottawa.

    Ms. Shire founded the Strathcona Heights Homework Club with only two participants and through the years has achieved major success with the number of students increasing to more than 150.

    Operating at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, the Strathcona Heights Homework Club provides students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 with an educational after-school program throughout the year and a day program during the summer. It provides an essential service to youths in the community by providing participants with free educational assistance, tutoring and mentoring.

    The majority of participants live in Strathcona Heights, home to one of the largest Ottawa Community Housing developments. The program strives to educate and provide safe and fun activities to combat negative societal influences by creating a safe haven for youths to interact with peers and role models. The program is completely volunteer-led and the students rely on the generous support of volunteers like Ms. Shire.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Maurice Bilodeau

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Alta Vista Ward Councillor Peter Hume, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Maurice Bilodeau for his volunteer activities and selfless contributions in Ottawa.

    Now 85, and a veteran of Second World War combat duty in Europe, Maurice returned to Holland in 1995 to commemorate the thousands of young Canadian soldiers who never returned home. He was surprised by the avid interest that many young Dutch students expressed in the Second World War and after speaking of life in 1944, they provided him with a big “Thank You” poster.

    This planted the seed of an idea and once back in Ottawa, Maurice contacted a few teachers at area schools and offered to visit classrooms to help students understand the hardships of a soldier and the horrors of war. He has since visited many schools and informed students with his honest, first-person account of life at the front.

    Maurice also spends two days a week volunteering at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre on Russell Road in Alta Vista Ward where he spends time with and assists residents and patiently shares experiences with them. He received the 2006 Caring Canadian Award presented by then Governor General Michaëlle Jean.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Lionel Laurin of Orléans

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Lionel Laurin of Orléans for his dedication and contribution to many volunteer activities in the city over the years.

    Since the 1960s, Lionel Laurin has dedicated himself to volunteer efforts in support of many causes within the community. He worked in conjunction with CFRA and local schools to raise literacy awareness and support the establishment of libraries in the north.

    He has assisted in raising funds for colon cancer research and in support of the local Boy Scouts. He has made donations in support of the Navan International Ploughing Match and he co-organized a Heart and Stroke Foundation fundraising event with the local Legion that raised some $10,000. Mr. Laurin has also been active in helping the Divine Infant Church in raising funds to assist single mothers. Finally, Mr. Laurin has been integral to the development and continued growth of the Orléans Community Garden.

    Mr. Laurin is the owner of the very successful Orléans Ace Body Shop. His community involvement and dedication truly defines the term philanthropist and is a testament to his desire to help improve his community for everyone.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Daniel Richer

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Daniel Richer, Town Crier, for his dedication and support of many notable causes in the city over the years.

    Since 1981, Mr. Richer has proudly represented both sides of the National Capital Region. He was Ontario’s Provincial Herald from 1984 to 1993. He has refined his art into a science and given workshops on the techniques of proper breathing and projection, formed new town criers for other communities and attained an international reputation.

    Mr. Richer has worked across Canada, the U.S. and around the world and has won several Town Crier Championships at the North American and International level. He has proclaimed in more than 20 languages at a variety of events ranging from ambassador’s evenings to rock concerts.


  • 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.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mrs. Linda Graupner

    Mayor Jim Watson presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Mrs. Linda Graupner who is a dedicated volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa.

    Over the past decade, Mrs. Graupner has been matched with two Little Sisters.

    Her association extends to past involvement on the program committee and more recently as a participant with the Holiday Hamper Program and Council for Advancement, the organization’s fundraising arm. In addition, she is currently working on a program that would provide bicycles and helmets to Littles who are unable to afford one.

    The presentation to a volunteer of Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa coincides with the Bring a Little to Council program. This initiative pairs each member of Council with a “Little” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – the staff of the Lone Star Texas Grill restaurant

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to the staff of the Lone Star Texas Grill restaurant at Baseline Road and Fisher Avenue for a surprise party that they organized for a young cancer survivor.

    With Ward Councillor Keith Egli, Mayor Watson presented a framed certificate of the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Darin Aughey, General Manager of Lone Star Texas Grill Restaurant Baseline and Chris Stearns, a server at the Lone Star.

    Led by Mr. Stearns, and with the support of management, the Lone Star Restaurant organized a surprise birthday party last October for Jacob Randell, who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer at the age of five in November 2008.

    Jacob had visited the restaurant a month earlier, in September 2010, with his mother, Liliane Hajjar, to celebrate her return to work after being off for two years during his treatment. Mr. Stearns took a shine to Jacob and his heroic battle and when Jacob expressed a wish to have his birthday party there, Mr. Stearns arranged a surprise celebration in October.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Michaela Noffke

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Michaela Noffke.

    Mayor Watson and Stittsville Ward Councillor Shad Qadri presented Michaela Noffke with a framed certificate of the Mayor’s City Builder Award.

    Michaela is a dedicated and accomplished dance instructor who was already winning awards for her leadership at age 16. She is currently nearing completion of her studies in Sociology and Art History at Carleton University where she volunteers as a note taker, providing detailed notes to classmates with disabilities. Michaela also gives her time to the Volunteers in Education program run by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation and spent time reading to grade one students at Stittsville Public School. She also volunteers at the Glee Club at Goulbourn Middle School, teaching over forty children to sing, dance and work together as a team, supporting everyone regardless of their skill level.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Members of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2011 Committee

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to members of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2011 Committee.

    Mayor Watson and Cumberland Ward Councillor Stephen Blais presented Co-Chairs Barry Irvine and Lyne Proulx, and Events Co-ordinators Stan Kowala and Bob Presland with framed certificates of the Mayor’s City Builder Award.

    The Navan for Kraft Hockeyville Committee undertook the challenge of promoting the Village of Navan in the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 competition as a valuable community-building process.

    People of all ages worked together towards a common goal, met new people, made new friends, reacquainted with old friends and worked together in a positive, fun endeavour for the betterment of all. As a result, community spirit, pride and cohesiveness is greatly enhanced.

    Local charities also benefited with donations going to the Cumberland Resource Centre Food Bank, CHEO and to a local special needs individual.


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