Former BC Lion player and Grey Cup winner JR Larose is the Fraser Valley Diversity Award guest speaker this March 12. (Fraser Valley Diversity Awards/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards release nominations

Ceremony takes place on March 12, which includes a dinner, awards program, and a guest speaker.

Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards are aiming to highlight citizens in Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission who bring different perspectives, cultures, and opportunities to the region.

Patricia Driessen, event coordinator, said the awards started in 2003 to recognize the best practices of organizations, initiatives, businesses. and individuals.

“Each year, nominations are accepted from individuals, organizations, schools, businesses and programs that work towards building an inclusive community, providing their clients [and] customers with accessible environments, and having reflective work forces for all,” Driessen said.

The event started at King’s Crossing and moved to Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre in 2005, which is now the Quality Hotel in Abbotsford.

“This annual event has been a resounding success with close to 400 people attending each year and is usually sold-out,” Driessen added,

READ MORE: 17th annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards accepting applicants

Organized by Archway, in partnership with Mission Community Services, Chilliwack Community Services and New Directions English Language School in Langley – the ceremony takes place on March 12, which includes a dinner, awards program, and a guest speaker.

JR Larose has been announced as the guest speaker at this year’s ceremony; he is a former BC Lion player and Grey Cup winner.

“Larose is a proud member of the One Arrow First Nation who overcame a rough childhood. His father was deported to Nigeria before he was born and his mother, a residential school survivor, struggled with addiction,” Driessen said.

“Starting to play football at age 15 was the catalyst for a new life for Larose. After nine seasons with the Canadian Football League, including five with the BC Lions, he retired and now speaks on his story of redemption across Canada,” she continued.

Nominees were officially announced on Feb. 21, with winners soon to be judged by a committee of Fraser Valley members to be revealed at the actual ceremony.

Categories include champion of diversity, youth champion of diversity, inclusive environment, marketing, innovative initiative, and effective human resources, both small and large.

Nominations include;

Marketing

Canadian Recreation Excellence (Chilliwack) Corporation (Chilliwack)

EmpowHER Goddesses Group (Abbotsford)

Eugene Reimer Middle School (Abbotsford)

Fraser Valley Bandits (Abbotsford)

Inspire Me Fitness (Abbotsford)

Immigrant Services Society of BC (Langley)

What’s On Magazine (Langley, Abbotsford)

Effective Human Resources Strategies

Mission Folk Music Festival Society (Mission)

Molson Coors (Chilliwack)

Save On Foods, Langley (Langley)

UFV Cascades Men’s Basketball Team (Abbotsford)

Innovative Initiative (small and medium organizations)

A Bridge to Better Living Society (Chilliwack)

Bakerview Music Academy (Abbotsford)

Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce (Chilliwack)

Chilliwack RCMP Victim Services Program (Chilliwack)

Cool Runnings (Abbotsford)

Dark Glass Theatre (Langley)

Dickens Sweets & British Museum (Chilliwack)

Dingolay Glass (Chilliwack)

Downtown Langley Business Association (Langley)

EmpowHER Goddesses Group (Abbotsford)

Interagency Care Team (Abbotsford)

Meadow Family Help Centre Rose Society (Chilliwack)

Prospera Credit Union, Mission (Mission)

Rotary Club of Mission Midday (Mission)

WUSC UFV (Abbotsford)

Innovative Initiative (large organizations)

Baha’is of Abbotsford (Abbotsford)

CRFC RECORDING Project by CIVL (Abbotsford)

Willowbrook Safeway Extra (Langley)

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (Langley)

Inclusive Environment (small organizations)

Chilliwack Gender Care Committee (Chilliwack)

Chilliwack Tennis Society (Chilliwack)

Common Room Music Collective (Chilliwack)

Cool Runnings (Abbotsford)

Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association (BIA) (Chilliwack)

Fraser Valley Youth Society (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission)

Gladwin Heights United Church (Abbotsford, Mission)

Inspire Me Fitness (Mission)

Mission Punjab Culture Club (Mission)

MSA Society for Community Living’s Self-Advocate Group (Abbotsford)

Play Abby Abbotsford (Abbotsford)

Unlocking the Gates (Vancouver)

Inclusive Environment (medium & large organizations)

Ann Davis Transition Society (Chilliwack)

Chilliwack School District (Chilliwack)

Encompass Support Services (Langley)

Fraser Valley Regional Library – Sardis and Chilliwack Libraries (Chilliwack)

Kids Play Foundation (Surrey)

Mission School District #75 (Mission)

Molson Coors (Chilliwack)

Salvation Army Chilliwack Community Foodbank (Chilliwack)

Youth Champion of Diversity

Emmy R Curtis (Abbotsford)

Lauren Palmer (Abbotsford)

Megan Owens (Chilliwack)

Olivia Chen Xu (Langley)

Sabastien Onyemaobi (Mission)

Shervin Aryaeeazar (Abbotsford)

Champion of Diversity

Amber Price (Chilliwack)

Anna Tosso (Chilliwack)

Beatrice Elaine Silver (Abbotsford)

Cordel Pullar (Abbotsford)

Devina Kaur (Abbotsford)

Donald W. Strangway (Abbotsford)

Gurdeep (Gary) Kaloti (Abbotsford)

Herv Bezjak (Langley)

Jack Ethier (Mission)

Jatinder Singh Brar (Abbotsford)

Kari Hackett (Abbotsford)

Manraj Johal (Langley)

Manveer Heer (Abbotsford)

Mariana Aamburu (Langley)

Rudy Storteboom (Langley)

Satnam (Satti) Grewal (Abbotsford, Mission)

Versha Oza (Chilliwack)

“The awards have continued to make a positive impact in this community,” Driessen said. “We want to recognize those who are our leaders when it comes to diversity, being inclusive and providing a welcoming environment to all.”

Tickets are available at diversityawards.ca/product/ticket/ with the option of single tickets or tables of eight.

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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