Lisa Kahn and Ruth Haley truly exemplify the meaning of grassroots community leadership. When the Hydro corridor in Silvercreek Park was clear cut last fall the surrounding community was presented with a vision of how the space could be transformed into a meadow of grasses and wildflowers that would benefit both the community and the environment. Ruth and Lisa worked tirelessly to organize the community to plant wildflowers and shrubs in the corridor. Their work didn’t end there! Due to a dry spring they were busy organizing the watering of these plants as well as the pulling of invasive garlic mustard weeds. They have inspired their families and neighbours to join them in nurturing this new space. They also know the fruits of their labour will not be fully expressed for a few years though we can already see lovely Black-eyed Susans sprinkled throughout the meadow. Many children have joined their parents in the work of environmental stewardship, like Lisa’s children, Avery and Grayson, pictured here. Thank you Lisa and Ruth for your leadership!
The long list of volunteer roles that Dillon March has played in our community would make one think he is well past retirement age. Not even close!
March has been active and engaged since high school, where he co-ordinated a project that led to his school receiving a $60,000 grant from Landscape Ontario to build an outdoor classroom. He continued his legacy of service through his years as a Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Guelph, where he completed a BA in French and Italian Studies. During this time, he was Chair of the Guelph Pride committee, and appointed to the Board of Directors of Out On The Shelf (until 2014). As Guelph Pride Chair, he guest-curated an exhibit to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Guelph Pride events at the Guelph Civic Museum.
As a student, he worked with the Bounce Back program, a program that helps first year students facing academic and personal challenges get back on track, as well as volunteering with OUTline, a support service that assists individuals who are questioning their sexual and gender identity.
In his current role at the West End Community Centre, March has worked with the City of Guelph Improvement Network on projects such as the Innovation Fund (formerly Dragon’s Den). This project led to the installation of client-facing monitors. March is currently a member of the Citizen First Customer Service Roundtable.
Dillon`s legacy of community-focused advocacy is why he has been selected as this week`s Ward 5 Hero!
Sharon Bennett is a recipient of the 2016 YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Technology Information category. Sharon is a Technology Advisor who works with Microsoft partners, helping them build technology solutions as they grow their businesses. Before that she offered similar services to local businesses through her own IT business, Bennett Business Connections. Sharon has written for technology magazines, writes an award-winning blog and is a public speaker on technology issues. She also teaches continuing education courses and provides technical seminars to start-ups through the Guelph Business Enterprise Centre. She has also done work for Guelph Women in Networking, the Girl Geek Guelph committee and sat on the Guelph Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Thank you to Sharon for being a great role model for women in the IT world!
There are few people who have contributed more than Ken Hammill to the quality of life and wellbeing for the citizens of Guelph.
During his 29 years as a City Councillor Ken’s legacy includes his advocacy for a continuous trail system along the Eramosa and Speed Rivers. These popular trails are a testament to Ken’s vision and passion to make a difference.
After leaving City Council Ken continued his community work as a founder of the Guelph Community Foundation and the Friends of Guelph. He was a major force in fundraising for the Market Square rink/wading pool and the John Galt statue and landscaping in front of the Guelph Museum. In addition he has been a tireless champion for the economic viability of Downtown Guelph while respecting and enhancing its unique character – rich in history and cultural activities. He also fundraises for the Guelph YM-YWCA Sharks swim program for kids.
These are just a few of Ken’s contributions that span many decades. He has been a great mentor for those of us working to build a better community. We are grateful for Ken’s dedication to our wonderful City!
Fawn Turner is a University of Guelph Ph.D. candidate in plant agriculture but this inspiring young woman’s story does not end with her academic achievements.
Her commitment to community service has won her a number of service awards: Dr William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Award, United Way Spirit Award, Beverly Mulkewich Leadership Award, and Rotarian Award to name just a few. She has volunteered with the United Way, Canadian Blood Services, Habitat for Humanity and was a Big Sister for 8 years mentoring a young girl from grade 5 through to High School graduation. Fawn was also a 2014 YM-YWCA Women of Distinction nominee.
Currently Fawn is VP External Relations of the Graduate Student Association, a director of the U of G’s Board of Governors and is chair of the City’s Transit Advisory Committee.
We are fortunate that Fawn chose the University of Guelph and thank her for her dedication to community service both on and off campus!
Like any new family, when the Muslim Society of Guelph (MSOG) moved into their new home on Water Street a few years ago, one of the first things they did (and continue to do) was to introduce themselves to neighbours and help build community.
Recently, Guelph was named the best city in Canada to be a new Canadian. We at City Hall would love to take all the credit, but truthfully, it is organizations like MSOG who do all the work to welcome and demonstrate the true meaning of inclusivity. One example of this is the MSOG Community BBQ and EID Mela celebration on Saturday, July 9 from 2 -7 pm, welcoming Muslims and non-Muslims to join together at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The MSOG is a key player in helping to facilitate the settlement of Syrian refugee families arriving to make Guelph their new home.
Muhammed Sayed, President of the MSOG, is a gracious host to all who visit and is highly respected beyond the Muslim community for building strong relationships with other faith leaders in Guelph. For their community actions and generosity of spirit, this week’s Ward 5 Heroes are the members of the Muslim Society of Guelph!
Wherever environmental sustainability is being discussed in Guelph you will find Evan Ferrari. Evan’s passion for environmental stewardship is exemplified in the leadership and advocacy roles he has played in wilderness protection, waste management, energy conservation and renewables. He is currently the Executive Director of eMERGE Guelph helping to connect citizens and organizations to innovative solutions to maximize resource efficiency and community well being. He is the recipient of Canada’s Governor General’s 124 award for his work on environmental initiatives. An avid canoeist, Evan has paddled from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean and organizes local canoeing adventures on the Eramosa/Speed Rivers- even canoe tobogganing. Thank you Evan for all of your efforts in building a more resilient and sustainable Guelph!