About the GUG Recipients of 2017

Liana Medynsky (Engaged & Active Award)

Lead Volunteer, Richmond Youth Drop-in

  • involved in the visioning, planning and implementation phases of the Richmond Youth Drop-in; sought out partners to help secure an accessible and affordable community space. She set out to investigate the feasibility of offering a similar service to children by campaigning with the Richmond Village Association and hosting several fundraisers to raise the money needed for such an expansion. On October 14, 2016, and after a year of campaigning and fundraising, the drop-in hosted its first expanded program, welcoming children and youth ages 8-16.
  • provides healthy snacks, contributes to the programming, and manages the drop-in’s social media accounts, as well as recruiting, training, and scheduling the volunteers and liaising with the Child and Youth Worker. She has spent over 80 hours behind the scenes to help ensure this drop in is successful and continues to be successful for the children and youth of Richmond.

Lynda Brown (Safe & Supported Award)

Manager of Youth Programs, Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre

  • ensures that the youth at OICC have access to a business art studio, encouraging them to learn the traditional way of carving, beading, and sewing
  • helped to design Ottawa's first Elders and youth group providing youth with regular opportunities to meet and work with Elders in their community
  • worked on a project that allowed parents to write books in Inuktitut
  • recognized internationally as a throat singer
  • work within the urban Inuit community has grown from helping roughly 30 youth, to touching the lives of 150 youth annually, some of whom have gone on to perform in front of Federal Leaders and on the international stage
  • previous member of the Youth Service Bureaus’ Suicide Prevention table, the Canadian Association of Mental Health, the Inuit Non-Profit Housing Corporation
  • made significant contributions to the design and implementation of Ottawa’s first Aboriginal Integrated Plan of Care

Programme petits pas a trois (Learning & Discovering Award)

Francophone nursery school, Conseil des ecoles catholiques du centre-est

  • a free francophone nursery school program for three-year-olds in a school setting. Children benefit from a space designed to meet their needs (no desks here, thank you!) and the expertise of an early childhood educator
  • addresses the needs of children who are learning French and gives them an opportunity to get comfortable with a school setting over an entire school year
  • designed to help children develop social skills and learn French while fostering a smooth transition to junior kindergarten

Nicole McKerracher (Leadership Award)

Executive Director, Osgoode Youth Association

  • located in a marginalized rural area of Osgoode
  • helped O-YA’s programs evolve starting as a program coordinator in 2008, then taking the reigns as Executive Director in 2011
  • belief that children and youth living in rural communities should have the same access and opportunities enjoyed by those living in more central parts of Ottawa
  • Over the last 5 to 6 years, OYA has seen a 370% increase in participation among children, youth and volunteers
  • After taking on the role as ED in 2011, Nicole has increased the number of volunteers supporting OYA initiatives from 55 to over 110
  • Increasing her partnerships from 9 in 2011 to over 21 today.  From 3 to 9 core programs and from 4 to 8 large special events.  All of this with a small but mighty group of staff
  • OYA is also a nationally recognized organization that other organizations look to as a model for how to run a successful youth centre

Debbie Deschamps (Healthy & Thriving Award)

Cook/Bus Driver, Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre

  • a part of the community she works in
  • over the past 27 years, has taken on the roles of child minder; parent pre-school support worker; housekeeper; respite worker at the family shelter; cook; and bus driver
  • prepsmeals, greets children and getting them on and off the bus, organizes the staff and activities, and generally just making sure the place keeps going
  • learned how to say phrases in Arabic to help soothe and calm newcomer children
  • past 11 years at the Headstart Nursery School alone, Debbie has touched the lives of approximately 800 children and their families in our community

Darlene Fripp (Healthy & Thriving Award)

Volunteers at Cooking Programs, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa

  • found in the kitchens of various BGCO Clubhouses across the City, prepping after-school snacks and sharing her passion for cooking and baking with members, many of which grow-up in some of Ottawa's higher-risk communities and are rarely given an opportunity
  • provides a positive sense of self-worth, accomplishment, and pride for the masterpieces they created together in the kitchen
  • ensures that members are learning the proper etiquette, emergency procedures and safety procedures of the kitchen during her program and how to eat fresh, healthy, and on a budget
  • recently began helping out in the outdoor garden and indoor Tower garden programs, ensuring that members are aware of the process from growing to cultivating to cooking the food they enjoy
  • recently passed the 4-year mark since beginning to volunteer, and she will also soon reach another very impressive milestone - 1000 Volunteer Hours donated to BGCO

Crown Ward Championship Education Team (Collaborative Award)

Various organizations

  • Algonquin College, Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa, Carleton University, Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, La Cité Collégiale, Le Conseil des Écoles Catholiques du Centre-Est, Le Conseil des Écoles Publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Ministry of Education, The Ottawa Catholic School Board, The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, University of Ottawa (past partners: Odawa Native Friendship Centre, Ottawa Police Service, Youth Services Bureau, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa)
  • a shared approach to facilitating youth progress in school and work when transitioning out of foster care
  • All partners on the CWCET Steering Committee volunteer their time, experience, skills and passion to the work; ability to work together to overcome institutional, systemic, and historical barriers in order to improve education outcomes for children and youth in care
  • creation of a data sharing sub-committee and the completion of a protocol between the CAS and local school boards allowing targeted opportunities to work together for children and youth in care and to begin measuring educational outcomes
  • organized conferences to bring CAS youth, staff, and caregivers together with teachers and school board staff to learn from each other, to dispel stigmas, and to hear about successes and challenges
  • Completion of the UNLOCKING DREAMS, OPENING DOORS: PARTNERING FOR EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS – MOU between the CAS and the 4 local Post-Secondary Institutions in 2010 AND a renewed agreement ready to be signed in early 2018
  • committee created an experiential learning sub-committee with a purpose of creating experiential opportunities and events where youth in care can learn to tap into their passions and skills while exploring a variety of future jobs and careers