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    Donna Gray receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Donna Gray at today’s City Council meeting. Donna was recognized for her community-building efforts in the Rochester Heights community of Ottawa Community Housing (OCH).

    A resident of Rochester Heights for the past seven years, Donna is a vital connector and resource to fellow residents, helping them to locate and navigate all kinds of supports – from public transit to household furnishings to access to fresh, affordable food. She is a community leader who nurtures friendship, dignity, and a sense of belonging and being respected.

    In 2010, she was a driving force in a community-wide effort to build two new play structures for the families of Rochester Heights. With her help the community raised $33,000 and built the play areas and structures together.

    She was also instrumental in neighbourhood revitalization projects such as repaving the basketball courts and applying for OCH community capital grants used to install picnic tables and flower planters at every unit.

    Donna works for the Somerset West Community Health Centre and is the coordinator of Good Food Markets, which improves access to healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income communities. When Good Food Markets were piloted in 2012, Donna carried out the initial needs assessment, insuring a strong foundation for the project and the best possible service for families.

    She recruits volunteers for each market day, building community and offering job experience to community members. She continues to advocate for more funding for Good Food Markets to increase food security for low-income families.

  • Tysen Lefebvre receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    March 23rd, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Stittsville Ward Councillor Shad Qadri presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Tysen Lefebvre at today’s City Council meeting. The 15-year-old youth was recognized for his tireless and enthusiastic work to raise funds for Make-a-Wish Eastern Ontario to make big wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses.

    In November 2012, Tysen had his own wish granted: to fly to Los Angeles to meet his hero, actor Adam Sandler, who does extensive philanthropic work while filming movies and raising his family. The actor’s generosity and hard work inspired Tysen to launch Mission to a Million the next year, an ongoing fundraising project to raise $1 million for Make-a-Wish so 100 local kids can have their wishes come true.

    This was a lofty goal for Tysen, who has Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 2, a rare genetic disorder that affects the skull, facial features and limbs. He had his first operation when he was nine days old and, by the time he was three, he had spent more than half of his life in hospital. He has more surgeries in his future, but he is always planning and working on how he can make life better for others.

    Tysen has a website (missiontoamillion.ca) and a Facebook page devoted to the campaign, but it is the time he puts into being the face and voice of Mission to a Million that has made it a remarkable success. To date he has inspired businesses, schools, children’s groups, philanthropic organizations and individuals to raise more than $360,000, and on March 14 he was on hand for the presentation of the 46th wish of the campaign. He says every time the funds raised by Mission to a Million grant a wish, it feels like having his own wish granted again.

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  • Elizabeth Dessureault receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    February 24, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Elizabeth Dessureault at today’s City Council meeting. She was recognized for her contributions to lung cancer awareness, research, treatment and patient advocacy.

    In April 2015, Elizabeth, a lifelong non-smoker, was diagnosed with stage IIIB (late stage) lung cancer. She was 25 and five months pregnant for her first child. She was told her cancer was incurable and she was given a year at most to live.

    As a teacher, newlywed (to Dax Dessureault, an RCMP officer) and mother-to-be, she refused to accept the prognosis and had her tissue sent to the United States for genetic testing. The tests revealed a rare genetic mutation called ROS-1, which meant her tumour could be treated with a pill.

    She also intensively researched lung cancer and found that, while it is the most frequent killer among cancers, the stigma attached to lung cancer as a smoker’s disease means a disproportionately low share of cancer research funding is allocated to it. She decided to become an advocate for lung cancer awareness and to do all she can to change the image, and the conversation, around lung cancer.

    She offered her services as a spokesperson and fundraiser to Lung Cancer Canada and Team Draft, a lung cancer awareness, research and advocacy organization in the States founded in 2011 by NFL player Chris Draft and his late wife Keasha. Elizabeth’s central message is “If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer”.

    She raised funds for lung cancer awareness last fall by designing and manufacturing white leather “Just Breathe” bracelets, which raised over $10,000 during November and December for Lung Cancer Canada, Team Draft, and the Ottawa General Hospital to help fund their planned Molecular Oncology Diagnostics Laboratory. Having a laboratory in Ottawa will help make genetic profiling of tumours a standard part of medical care, allowing physicians to determine which medications will work best for a particular patient.

    She blogs about her battle with cancer at fromlizzieslungs.wordpress.com.

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Bruce Brayman

    Mayor Jim Watson and Osgoode Ward Councillor George Darouze presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Bruce Brayman at today’s City Council meeting. He was recognized for his contributions, through generous ongoing volunteering and inspiring leadership, to the quality of life of Greely residents.

    He and his family moved to Greely in 2006, and six months later he joined the Greely Community Association (GCA) as its secretary. He has also served as the GCA vice-president and has been the association president for five years. He works tirelessly to make Greely an attractive place for families and seniors to live.

    Volunteering is a family affair for Bruce and Linda Brayman and their children. Bruce, with the help of his family, the GCA and other Greely residents, has been instrumental in beautifying parks, ensuring there is a community outdoor rink in winter, and planning, organizing and recruiting volunteers for the community Canada Day and Winter Carnival celebrations.

    He is also a founding member of the Greely Business Association, and he manages the Greely Seniors Walking Club. He works with the community’s Councillor, George Darouze, City of Ottawa standing committees, 17 home owners’ associations and various other organizations to optimize all that Greely has to offer.

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Pamela Tourigny

    Mayor Jim Watson and Capital Ward Councillor David Chernushenko presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Pamela Tourigny at today’s City Council meeting, recognizing her contributions to animal welfare and to the vegan and vegetarian communities in Ottawa.

    On her Huffington Post blog, Pamela describes herself as a “community builder, writer, vegan, mindful consumer, wannabe athlete, feminist, dog foster mom, seeker of truth and promoter of kindness.”

    Pamela is passionate about animal welfare and animal rights, and her dedication to this cause translates into volunteering, advocacy, community-building and blogging.

    She fosters dogs for Sit With Me and cares for orphaned baby squirrels for the Rideau Valley Sanctuary.

    A gifted and skilled connector, Pamela builds and leverages relationships to benefit the health, wellness and sustainability of the community, with particular focus on vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. She has volunteered thousands of hours to support vegetarian and wellness advocates and organizations, building relationships with and between seasoned volunteers and mentoring new ones.

    She was the founding president, in 2007, of the National Capital Vegetarian Association and served on that organization’s board up to last year. She co-founded Ottawa VegFest in 2009 and continues to volunteer to support the annual event.

    She blogs about vegetarian, vegan, health, wellness, fitness and sustainability issues at pamelatourigny.com and at huffingtonpost.ca/pamela-tourigny.

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Marie McIntosh

    Mayor Jim Watson and Capital Ward Councillor David Chernushenko presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award today to Marie McIntosh, recognizing more than 15 years of volunteer work improving the quality of life of seniors living at Clementine Towers, advocating for seniors residing in Ottawa Community Housing (OCH), and helping to raise funds for disaster relief around the world.

    Marie, who is 88 years young, moved to the 258-unit Clementine Towers seniors apartment building in Alta Vista, operated by OCH, in 1999. The next year she became the president of the building’s social club and tenant association, a volunteer position she’s held ever since.

    With her enthusiastic and energetic leadership, the tenant association has organized hundreds of social events over the past 15 years including card playing, bingo, exercise classes, knitting groups, teas, dinner-dances, and fundraisers to help victims of natural disasters in various countries. The social and fundraising events are important to keeping seniors in the independent-living apartments physically active and engaged, warding off loneliness and isolation.

    In 2010, the Clementine Towers tenant association won an Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association Tenant Achievement Recognition Award for raising $1,500 for Doctors Without Borders to help earthquake victims in Haiti.

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Louis V. Patry

    Mayor Jim Watson and Innes Ward Councillor Jody Mitic presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award today to Louis V. Patry, recognizing more than 35 years of volunteer work in preserving and promoting the history and heritage of Orléans.

    Louis is a co-founder of the Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans (MIFO) in 1979, and la Société franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l’histoire d’Orléans (SFOPHO) in 2008. Over the years he has led many committees and contributed his expertise in the Francophone history and culture of Orléans to dozens of organizations and projects. Some of his notable achievements:

    In 1968, he was the first bilingualism policy advisor to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.
    The first French cultural shows offered by MIFO in the early 1980s were organized by Louis and his team of volunteers. The popular program continues today at the Shenkman Arts Centre, with more than 8,000 tickets sold in 2014.

    In 2011, he created and served as the chair of the Comité pour l’amélioration de la place des noms francophones d’Orléans (CAPNFO), a SFOPHO committee that raised awareness about the importance of using French accents on French words in names and titles of public places, notably the accent on the “é” in Orléans.
    As a member of the Mayor’s working group to update the City’s Commemorative Naming Policy in 2011-2012, he researched and wrote a paper on commemorative naming policies of various provinces and major cities.
    At the request of the Gloucester Historical Society, he wrote a history of Orléans, which is available on the SFOPHO website in both languages.

    Louis’s contributions have helped make the SFOPHO a vibrant and active organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the Francophone heritage of Orléans and Ottawa. As the SFOPHO is the only Francophone historical society in the Ottawa region, it is often called upon to represent the French-speaking community of Ottawa with regard to heritage.

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Helen Synek

    Mayor Jim Watson and River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award today to Helen Synek, recognizing her 30 years of volunteer work at the Caldwell Family Centre in Carlington.

    In 1954, Helen left school in Youghal, Ireland, at 14 to start helping to support her family by working in a textile factory. She immigrated to Ottawa when she was 20. She has never forgotten her blue-collar roots and the loneliness of moving to a much bigger city so far from home. Her upbringing, and the challenges of living in a new country, helped her to make friends easily and to be empathetic to the people who seek essential social services as well as companionship at the Caldwell Family Centre.

    She continues to work in the day program at the centre most of the day, but also helps with the neighbourhood food bank and the seniors’ drop-in program. At almost 75 she has no plans to retire, preferring to stay busy and active helping the hundreds of people who come to the centre, whom she embraces as friends.

    The Caldwell Family Centre recently presented a 30-year service award to Helen. She told a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen: “The best part of the job is seeing the people every day and to try to make them feel important…and not use them to make yourself feel better.”

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Marie-Eve Chainey

    Mayor Jim Watson, Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury and Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward Councillor Tim Tierney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award today to Marie-Eve Chainey for her tireless work raising public awareness and funds to help people living with chronic kidney disease.

    In late 2001 while on an exchange program in Spain, Marie-Eve, a rising track-and-field athlete, was diagnosed as having kidney failure due to a rare blood disorder called Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS). She returned to Canada in February 2002 and survived on transfusions and dialysis but had to use a wheelchair and was not able to perform basic functions independently. Her situation began to turn around when she started nocturnal dialysis every night while she slept. She gained her strength back, worked hard to regain her fitness, went to uOttawa to study nursing, and joined the university track and field team. In July 2010, after struggling with kidney disease for eight years, she was able to compete in high jump at the National Track and Field Championships.

    Marie-Eve and her doctors believe patients with kidney disease do much better if they strive to be as fit as it is possible for each individual to achieve.

    As a result, she brought together a few dedicated medical professionals and family members to form the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project — a not-for-profit organization committed to education and public awareness about chronic kidney disease and prevention.

    Through Alive to Strive, Marie-Eve is also involved with The Active Living Grant Program, which provides funding to help people within the Champlain Local Health Integration Network area who are living with kidney disease to participate in fitness activities.

    In April 2015, the annual Alive to Strive Race raised over $30,000 for the Alive to Strive Active Living Grant program and over $15,000 for three related charities, including the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canadian Diabetes Association and Ottawa Hospital Kidney Research Centre.

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Daniel McCarthy

    Mayor Jim Watson and Alta Vista Ward Councillor Jean Cloutier presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award today to Daniel McCarthy for his dedication to the mission of Scouting and to enhancing Ottawa’s southeast as a healthy, caring community.

    Over the past 20 years, Mr. McCarthy has been a leader of Beaver, Cub, Scout and Venturer troops with the 101st Ottawa Scouting Group at St. Aidan’s Church in Elmvale Acres, as well as a Group Commissioner for 13 years.

    Mr. McCarthy exhibits outstanding dedication and leadership, helping youth of all ages to get the training and master the skills they need for personal development, and inspiring other adult troop leaders by example. He is a special advisor to the Venturer Company, mentoring teens at a challenging time in their lives. He also leads the 101st Group in providing exemplary support to local community services through such initiatives as organizing a Christmas appeal to help local families in need, with the Scouts gathering donations.

    In 2013, he prepared an application on behalf of the 101st Scouting Group, for a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The application was approved in 2014, and the Elmvale Scouts received a grant of $8,900 that was used to replace and update camping equipment and tents, to buy equipment for backpacking, canoeing and snowshoeing, and to subsidize training for leaders as well as 15 Venturers.

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