Celebrating Community Impact Sector Day of Recognition 2024

The community impact sector is often known for working quietly, behind the scenes, with limited resources. The reality is the sector does far more than it ever receives credit for. The Community Impact Sector Day of Recognition is an opportunity to highlight the incredible leadership, great ideas, and collaborative and innovative work happening each and every day. This year we were pleased to have our partner, Emera, offer their space and catering to help make this event extra special.

We were also honoured to have Dave Ladouceur of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre share some of what the organization has meant for him and others in the community. We welcomed Dee Dee Austin, who performed her original song, “Tell Me (Why I am so Different?)”. Associate Deputy Minister for the Department of Community Services, Nicole Johnson-Morrison, presented the official proclamation of the day on behalf of Premier Tim Houston. We also welcomed special guests Raksha Bhayana, Mayor Mike Savage, Lia MacDonald from Nova Scotia Power and our board, and Annika Voltan, executive director of IONS.

The Day of Recognition also featured this year’s Bhayana Family Foundation Invisible Champion Awards, which honoured 14 individuals and six organizations. These awards recognize the unsung heroes of the sector who go above and beyond for their communities. This year’s winners included people who work in all different areas of the sector, supporting people with disabilities, the arts, vulnerable women, mental health, youth, neighbourhoods and those impacted by wildfire. There were also several individuals who specifically work with African Nova Scotian communities or who use their experience as an African Nova Scotian to better support their clients. By doing so, they are breaking down barriers faced by their communities and helping others to succeed and thrive.

Individual Winners

Roxanne Auger – NSTAY Outreach Worker, YWCA Halifax, Herring Cove
Miranda Cain – Executive Director, North Preston’s Future, North Preston
Erin Desmond – Holly House Manager, Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland NS, Dartmouth
Elizabeth Fitzner – Client Service Coordinator, TEAM Work Cooperative, Halifax
Jarah Gregory – Executive Director, Couch of Hope, Dartmouth
April Hubbard – Board Chair, Halifax Fringe Festival, Halifax
Kerrie Lynn Johnston – Community Family Peer Support Network Coordinator, Preston Area Food Hub Network, North Preston
Valerie Manuel – Case Manager, YMCA, Middle Musquodoboit
Vaughn McLeod – Parker Street Food Bank, Halifax
Joy Power – GED Teacher, Valley Communication Learning Association, Kentville
Neville + Karen Provo – Founders, North Preston Bulls Association, North Preston
Tina Riley – Operations Director, Alice House
Hans Stokkeskog – Lead Driver / Fleet Manager, BayRides, Tantallon
Marcel Visser – Program Assistant, L’Arche Cape Breton Community, Cape Breton

Organization winners

Akoma – Veronica Marsman and Team, Dartmouth 
Barrington Care and Recovery Center – Amy Mackinnon and Team, Barrington
Boys and Girls Club of Preston – Charnell Colley and Team, Preston
Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland NS: The Abundance Store – Emma Halpern and Team
Samuel R. Balcom Centre Association – Andrew Barkhouse and Team, Port Dufferin
Stepping Stone Association – Kathleen Pyke and Team, Dartmouth

In addition to winning an Invisible Champion Award, Akoma was selected for a bursary from Davis Pier, valued at $10,000. This bursary will support them consulting and advisory services.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support the sector and its work through their giving, their volunteerism and their advocacy.