Two individuals and two businesses were honoured with Community Builders’ Awards on Thursday night in a presentation at The Reach Gallery Museum.
Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) presents the awards annually to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations who work tirelessly, passionately and collaboratively to make Abbotsford a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.
The 2018 Community Builders’ Award recipients are Kathy Doerksen, Marina Gibson, Envision Financial and Memento Mori Studios.
Doerksen developed the Abbotsford Community Law office and has advocated against elder abuse throughout B.C.
She worked at ACS for almost 40 years, completing her career as the program director of the Anti-Poverty, Advocacy, Legal Aid and Addictions Division.
She is also a member of Soroptimist International of Abbotsford-Mission and on the Communitas Supportive Care Society’s board of directors.
During Doerksen’s acceptance speech, she explained that after she began volunteering at ACS in 1972, she never looked back.
“I just loved being involved at the beginning stages and being part of developing a service in the community that was going to serve others and really look at social justice issues in the Abbotsford area. It gave me my passion for the work that I do and still continue to do,” she said.
Gibson was honoured for volunteering hundreds of hours to run the ACS Garden Project, which helps educate and bring people closer to their food source.
She has also donated her time to the New Beginnings Young Parent Program, Cyrus Centre, and the Vancouver crisis line.
“This partnership has been a blessing,” said Gibson as she thanked ACS for being willing to jump on board with her garden idea and provide support, materials and encouragement.
Envision Financial supports a diverse collection of initiatives in Abbotsford through sponsorships, their community crew and providing staff with paid volunteer time.
They have been a major sponsor of Quality Hotel’s Toys for Tots event benefiting the ACS Christmas Bureau since the first year and collect food bank donations year-round through their signature cause program, The Full Cupboard.
Branch manager Harpreet Grewal accepted the award on behalf of Envision.
“We’re very proud of our community involvement. It’s something that is wired into our company’s DNA.”
Memento Mori Studio was chosen for their commitment to supporting and volunteering with various local non-profits, such as Wilma’s Transition House and the BCSPCA, and embodying the ACS statement of diversity.
For the past eight years, they have offered anchor tattoos at the Anchor August event with all proceeds going to the ACS Food Bank.
“Ultimately, doing good feels good, and we’re going to continue giving back to the community that supports us,” said Memento Mori president Chris Gauthier.
“It’s not our intention to gain recognition but this recognition does mean the world to us.”
The Community Builders’ Awards were established in 2006 by the ACS board of directors to acknowledge outstanding individuals and has since grown to also include other non-profits and businesses.
Mayor Henry Braun spoke on the value of volunteers, and Chris Silver conducted the traditional welcome and acknowledgment of the gathering on unceded Stó:lō territory.
Appetizers and sweets were supplied by Delish Catering, which employs newcomers to Canada, snd “Employing People in the Community” clients provided setup and takedown services.
Live music was performed by Chris and Karen Savage.