Flare 2008 Volunteer Award Recipients

Flare Staff 0

Samira Mobina Ahmed


 
Samira Mobina Ahmed


Ayan Hersi


 
Ayan Hersi


Lara Tavares


 
Lara Tavares

Samira Mobina Ahmed Ayan Hersi Lara Tavares

Robyn Pardy


 
Robyn Pardy


Barbara Brink


 
Barbara Brink


Zuhy Sayeed


 
Zuhy Sayeed

Robyn Pardy Barbara Brink Zuhy Sayeed

Samira Mobina Ahmed
Ottawa, ON

Samira Mobina Ahmed


 
Samira Mobina Ahmed

At the young age of ten, Samira Mobina Ahmed faced serious health issues, which resulted in a walking disability. During her lengthy stay at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) she gained an appreciation for the impact that simple gestures of kindness have on others. This appreciation, coupled with her personal experience of being bullied, instilled in her a desire to reach out and make a difference. For six straight years after leaving the hospital, Samira has volunteered with CHEO and dedicated 260 hours to helping children. Her commitment to young people in Ottawa lead her to Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa (CAYFO) where she sits on the Board of Directors. As an avid public speaker with CAYFO, her passion for the rights of children and youth are kept at the forefront. Her participation as a guest speaker at international bullying conferences, schools and universities ensured that her difficult and personal experience helped other youth realize they are not alone. Samira’s experience at CAYFO led her to establish the Ottawa Youth Commission. Acting as a link between youth and City Council, the commission ensures that the opinions, concerns and suggestions of youth are heard on a variety of issues. Being fully immersed in the culture of youth, Samira noticed a gap in their understanding and knowledge of current affairs and felt that a communications format was needed. In the summer of 2007, she created an organization titled FYBY News (For Youth By Youth). This organization airs news segments via television to high schools and connects them to a website with youth journalism. At such a young age, she has become an agent for change, providing inspiration and mentorship to her peers. Showing how compassion, respect and responsibility can change the future, Samira is not only making Ottawa a more inclusive and youth-friendly city, she has also broken down barriers and helped youth in Canada find their own voice.

Ayan Hersi
Toronto, ON

Ayan Hersi


 
Ayan Hersi

A refugee from the Somali Civil War, Ayan Hersi arrived in Canada with her mother and siblings at a young age. They were alone and left to survive on social assistance after her father was deported back to Somalia. Coming from an economically disadvantaged family, Ayan was passionate about providing tutoring and mentoring to other low-income families. Currently she is a volunteer host of CKLN radio 88.1FM – the most popular urban campus radio station in Canada. During the 2006 AIDS Conference in Toronto, Ayan took to the airwaves as part of an international panel of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. Over the past six years as host, Ayan has interviewed countless leading personalities and has even broadcast live from Africa. Ayan is also an active volunteer for the Toronto-based Horn of Africa Relief Society (HARS); a nonprofit charity that helps impoverished communities with rural development in Africa. Through HARS, Ayan has raised awareness about HIV/AIDS, travelling as far as East Africa to provide training to women and children on human rights violations. Ayan also remains an active HIV/AIDS educator in Toronto through her work at UNICEF. She also helped co-develop the UNITE Youth Photography and Arts Project, which provides marginalized youth with the opportunity to participate in the arts. In 2007, Ayan volunteered over 1650 hours in addition to spending two months in Namibia helping design an HIV/AIDS educational video drama. Last year, at the University of Toronto, Ayan completed her undergraduate program in Equity Studies with a minor in Political Science and African Studies and will be attending the university’s law school in fall ‘08. Ayan’s passion for volunteering is simple – it stems from her desire to empower women and youth through education, as well as her strong belief in community, humanity and the welfare of others.

Lara Tavares
Toronto, ON

Lara Tavares


 
Lara Tavares

Having grown up in a family surrounded by technology, Lara Tavares realized early on that a computer was a valuable resource that offered limitless opportunities. Passionate about technology and its importance in education, Lara felt it was her calling to offer a solution to the digital divide in Canada. In 2004, Lara founded Sky’s The Limit Youth Organization (STL) in Toronto. The purpose of this non-profit organization is to give refurbished computers to under-resourced students. As founder and full-time volunteer CEO, Lara is responsible for STL operations, administration, sourcing of donors and fund development. Lara works handin- hand with other non-profit organizations such as Youth in Motion and Regent Park’s Pathways to Education Program to gain first-hand knowledge of which students legitimately require computers. When a student is identified as a potential recipient, Lara stops at nothing until a computer is delivered into his or her hands. More often than not, Lara personally delivers the computer herself. In 2007, Lara volunteered in excess of 2,500 hours – committing 100% of her time and energy to the cause. STL donated over 425 computers in 2007 throughout Ontario and it is Lara’s goal to increase her donation numbers and surpass this year’s success so that eventually no student in Canada is in need. STL operates on the basis that active computer users can use technology not only to make a difference in their own lives, but also in the lives of their families and in their community. Lara’s vision and the mandate behind STL is to provide students with access to computers, online resources and technology, so that today’s youth will be given the potential for enhanced success and a limitless window of opportunity to be whoever they dream of becoming.

Robyn Pardy
St. John’s, NL

Robyn Pardy


 
Robyn Pardy

A dedicated volunteer supporting the work of Oxfam Canada and the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland & Labrador (ACNL), Robyn Pardy is a survivor; overcoming obstacles so profound most of us would have a difficult time imagining the strength necessary to move forward. Robyn is a widowed mother of two young children, and she is living positively with HIV/AIDS. At the young age of 24, while living in an environment of abuse, violence and poverty she was diagnosed with the disease. At the time, she was 8 months pregnant. Today, more than 12 years after her diagnosis, Robyn is playing an invaluable leadership role as a volunteer with ACNL. Her contribution extends to community outreach, programming, events and fundraising. She has participated in speaking tours across the province and has delivered peer counseling to the newly diagnosed. From 1996-1998 she was a member of the ACNL Board of Directors. Robyn’s relationship with ACNL resulted in her volunteer involvement with Oxfam Canada and their partnership project with community groups in Newfoundland and women’s organizations in Zimbabwe and Lesotho, Africa. While in Africa, Robyn was able to talk to women about the importance of getting tested, building networks and speaking out. Her personal story inspires these women and helps challenge the stigma and discrimination existing in such remote communities. Her contributions have also extended to talking with Oxfam donors, being a featured speaker with Oxfam’s National Assembly and delivering training workshops for volunteers. With over 500 hours of volunteer work in 2007 alone, Robyn is relentless in her pursuit that we understand HIV isn’t just a health issue – it’s environmental, social and economic. As a woman living with the disease, she is breaking down stereotypes, encouraging increased resources and effecting policy change. Being public about her situation hasn’t come without obstacles for Robyn or her two teenagers. By taking her profound personal story public, she has without question become the heroic embodiment of how individuals can make a difference.

Barbara Brink, C.M.,O.B.C.
Vancouver, BC

Barbara Brink


 
Barbara Brink

As the recipient of the FLARE Volunteer Award for Lifetime Achievement, Barbara Brink is a testament to the amazing potential of commitment to volunteerism. Over four decades, Barbara has contributed to the improvement of many charitable organizations, was instrumental in founding two successful non-profit organizations, and has helped raise over 200 million dollars for the not for profit sector. Barbara’s perceptiveness, determination, and ability to engage others give her the power to reach the goals she conceptualizes. While on a trip in the late 1970’s, Barbara noticed how greatly her two sons enjoyed visiting a science centre. Recognizing that her own community could benefit from such an experience, her mission became to create something from nothing; a challenge that did not dissuade her from committing 12 years of ground-breaking volunteer work to developing a science centre in Vancouver. Barbara continued with her hands-on involvement until Science World opened in May of 1989. Now called the Telus World of Science, the centre draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Not only does Barbara use her leadership qualities to enrich her community, but she also encourages leadership in others. She was the Founder and Chair of Leadership Vancouver: a program that develops leadership skills, raises awareness about community issues, and creates networks of influential leaders sharing a common desire to make a difference. In 1999, Barbara broadened the impact of the program by encouraging the foundation of 22 new branches. Today, Barbara’s involvement extends into many organizations, including the Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame Cabinet of Junior Achievement of British Columbia. As Co-Chair, Barbara provides valuable input and guidance for the program, which honours BC citizens who have made outstanding contributions to the province and has raised over $1M in funds for students since its establishment. FLARE is honoured to welcome Barbara Brink into the circle of Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.

Zuhy Sayeed
Lloydminster, AB

Zuhy Sayeed


 
Zuhy Sayeed

When Zuhy Sayeed’s son Rashaad was born in 1982 with an intellectual disability, she realized the exclusion he might face based on his different abilities. Rather than passively accept exclusionist attitudes as the status quo and give in to the expectation that her son would develop in a segregated environment, Zuhy and her husband decided that Rashaad would grow up like any other child: learning and playing with his peers. Thanks to the Sayeeds’ enlightened perspective, Rashaad’s differences were not treated as flaws, but as demonstrations of the natural variation in human life. Given the opportunity to mature as a citizen with equal rights and contributions to make to society, Rashaad went on to graduate from high school, obtain a college degree, and start university with supports. Zuhy’s involvement in obtaining equal treatment for people with intellectual disabilities did not end with the successes of her son. Her tireless work for over 20 years has included supporting and leading the efforts of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), which advocates the full inclusion and human rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. As the Special Advisor of Children’s Rights for Inclusion International, Zuhy helps promote the rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide. She also participated in the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where she helped convince the member States of the United Nations that the Convention should recognize the important role of the family in supporting the needs and rights of people with disabilities. Zuhy is a powerful speaker and recently spoke to family associations in Europe as the past-President of CACL and Chair of CACL’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations. Her speech recognized the achievements of the association and reaffirmed the necessity of families coming together to spread the message of inclusion. Zuhy Sayeed more than merits FLARE Award for Community & Leadership as she works toward making communities in Canada and around the world inclusive of all people.

Return to Volunteer Awards Main Page

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *