For over 20 years Jan has been reminding us not only of those who were once here but of those who are still here. As a First Nations woman herself, she has been supporting the First Nations, Me’tis and Inuit community to have a voice by sharing authentic information about their history. Jan does this locally and globally as teacher/learner, storyteller, drummer, singer and First Nations culture keeper. Here in Guelph she is frequently seen at opening ceremonies providing the traditional welcome and territorial acknowledgement. Jan is also a Family Literacy Coordinator and Women’s Group Facilitator at Action Read as well as a support for the Aboriginal Resource Centre at the University of Guelph. She will be teaching First Nations culture and traditions in both school systems this year. Jan passionately and humbly believes that she is doing what she is meant to be doing in this lifetime and is grateful for our communities acceptance. We are grateful to you too Jan!
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!