There’s an astonishing number of local women who quietly support our community, going above and beyond without fanfare and little thanks.
Which is why the Sarnia Community Foundation started the Women of Excellence Awards in 2016, says executive director Jane Anema.
“We started thinking of all the fabulous women we know who enrich the community,” she said. “We know so many who are unsung, so why don’t we celebrate and have a party for them?”
Twelve nominations were received this year, every one deserving and with very different interests and skills. It was very difficult to choose five winners, said Anema.
“They may be from a variety of backgrounds but every one of them had the same reaction when I called to say they’d been chosen. They all said, “Really? What do you mean? I just do this stuff. I never thought it was award-worthy.”
The 2017 Women of Excellence are:
Mabel Higgins – is an award-winning educator and social activist who has touched many lives as an innovator in early childhood education and as an advocate for family rights, clean air, and passenger rail service. Mabel co-founded RAIL, has served on the board of Canadian Mental Health and was recognized as a professor emeritus by Lambton College.
Helen Lomax – is a fervent promoter of her community of Alvinston and was instrumental in bringing the Teeny Tiny Town conference to Lambton in 2016. She refers to her job as the ‘VP of Enthusiasm’ at Pathways and Transitions, where she is a workplace trainer. She hosts the TV Cogeco program The Workplace Puzzle. Helen is also on the board of Goodwill EKL.
Carolyn Luciani – is a longstanding member of the Rotary Club of Sarnia and crucial to the success of the annual pancake breakfast under the bridge. She serves on boards including Point Edward Police Services, Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation and Bridgeview School Council. She’s deeply involved with her church, children’s sporting events and hosts exchange students, all while working as the dealer principal at Manley’s Basics in Point Edward.
Cynthia McColeman – has volunteered for many organizations including Big Sisters, Diabetes and the Kidney Foundation, school council and church kitchens and is currently a Victims Services volunteer responder. Cynthia is the communications director for the Rapids Family Health Team and was previously employed at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, the hospital foundation and local radio station.
Lynn Sproviero – is a reflexologist and nutrition counsellor and the Optimists’ District Lt. Governor. Lynn is on the VON board and has volunteered with many organizations including CrimeStoppers and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“These are women who have been recommended to us as community builders and champions of a number of different causes,” said Sarnia Community Foundation Chair Pat Maaten.
The Foundation financially supports organizations and programs that enrich the community.
“These women also enrich the community. That’s the link,” said Anema.
An awards gala will be held Thursday, June 1 at the Sarnia Riding Club, with proceeds supporting the Women’s Interval Home and the SCF Blue Eyes Big Heart Scholarship fund.
The evening runs from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 with a $25 tax receipt and available at the foundation office or by calling 519-332-2588.