Inspiration Awards honour Albertans taking action against violence

By Aaron Mahoney/Lethbridge News Now
March 12, 2018 - 10:03am

LETHBRIDGE - 14 Inspiration Awards were recently presented to individuals and groups who demonstrated excellence in areas such as promoting public education about healthy relationships, working across sectors to address violence and partnering with Alberta’s diverse communities.

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services, says Albertans have always stood up for their neighbours and worked together to support those in need.

“The Inspiration Awards acknowledge community leaders who set an extraordinary example to support those affected by violence and abuse. These awards are a way our government can say thank you for their efforts to make life better for all Albertans,” Sabir said.

A handful of award recipients came from the local area:

-Lifetime Achievement Award: Milton Iwaasa, of Coaldale.

A release from the province states that citizens of southern Alberta’s rural communities are grateful for Iwaasa’s leadership efforts in family violence prevention.

“Iwaasa is a true example of building healthy relationships as a long-term strategy to ending violence among all ages. During his 30-year career with Barons-Eureka-Warner Family and Community Support Services, he has been instrumental in initiating many innovative programs to reduce social isolation and build healthy relationships.  In November 2017, Iwaasa wrapped up a tremendous professional career with his retirement and will leave behind a legacy of supporting families and preventing violence.”

Emerging Excellence Awards recognizing youth: John Wenlock, of Claresholm.

The release from the province characterized John Wenlock’s leadership in preventing family violence as inspirational.

“As the Youth of Tomorrow Teen Center Coordinator with FCSS Claresholm, he organizes programs for the youth to learn about fitness, health, hygiene, healthy relationships, positive behaviour, art, and volunteering. This group, comprised of mostly boys, are thriving with Wenlock’s leadership. In the spring of 2017, John received the Foothills Canada 150 Medal for his contributions and Volunteerism Award.”

 Group Award Recipients - Leadership in Sexual Violence Prevention: Amethyst Project, YWCA of Lethbridge and District

The Amethyst Project is being recognized for their service to sexual violence survivors.

“Sexual Assault Advocates work out of the Lethbridge and District YWCA and provide services to victims of sexual violence at the local Alberta Health Services emergency room. The advocates improve care and confidence for patients by providing advice, options and counselling support. Since the project’s 2015 inception, the advocates have been greatly beneficial to patients, Sexual Assault Response Team physicians, hospital staff, and the whole community.”

The total breakdown of awards saw Calgary receive 10 awards, Claresholm one, Coaldale one, Lethbridge one and Strathmore one.  

Any resident of Alberta, 13 years or older and not related to the nominee, can nominate an individual, a group, a business or a community organization for an Inspiration Award.

Nominations are measured against the following criteria:

-showing community leadership

-promoting public education of healthy relationships and gender equity

-working in partnership across sectors to address violence

-enhancing access to services and supports

-changing organizational practices

-developing primary prevention strategies

-partnering with Alberta’s diverse communities

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