The outstanding contributions of six Alberta volunteers were honoured with the presentation of the 2016 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards.
“Through their commitment, dedication and passion to make a difference, the recipients of the 2016 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award have demonstrated outstanding community spirit. I am proud to add my voice to the voices of all Albertans as we offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our volunteer Stars.”
The following people received the award from Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell and Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda at the ceremony held at Government House on December 5:
Dallas Ansell – Edmonton (Youth Category)
Ansell mentors students and promotes the importance of physical activity to create accessible and inclusive environments. He volunteers with numerous athletic organizations, including the Alberta Sports and Recreation Association for the Blind – where he helped coach an athlete to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Poshika Dhingra – Red Deer (Youth Category)
Dhingra has organized schoolwide clothing drives to provide winter clothing for Syrian refugees, is president of the local chapter of the International Students Association, participates on the youth panel of the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association and volunteers for fundraising campaigns.
Danisha Bhaloo – Edmonton (Adult Category)
Bhaloo lends her passion and energy to numerous organizations and is a committed advocate for youth. She works with at-risk youth to help address intolerance, racism, substance abuse, homelessness, family violence and prostitution. She is a founder of the Aga Khan Council for Edmonton’s Youth Empowerment Strategy program.
Paul Finkleman – Calgary (Adult Category)
Finkleman volunteers with Inn From the Cold, the Feeding the Homeless program and the Social Justice Committee at Temple B’nai Tikvah, working to assist homeless and at-risk Calgarians. Through his positive action, organizational and musical skills, along with a sense of fun, Finkleman inspires others and exemplifies community spirit.
Harry Bartlett – Slave Lake (Senior Category)
Bartlett is a life-time volunteer in Slave Lake and has been instrumental in planning and fundraising for numerous community projects, including a new town library, fire rescue unit and multi-recreation children’s play area. His efforts with the Rotary Club to establish a Community Donations Committee following the Slave Lake fires is being used as a model for recovery efforts in Fort McMurray.
Barbara Burgemeister – Hanna (Senior Category)
Burgemeister is a compassionate, dedicated leader and mentor. As president of the Hanna Food Bank Association, she organizes operations, recruits and trains volunteers and ensures that no family leaves without enough food and basic necessities. She is an organizing member of the Hanna Community Garden, growing produce for the Food Bank, assists with the Centre Street Thrift Store and supports community events from bake sales to barbecues.
Six provincial Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards are presented annually on or around International Volunteer Day, a global initiative established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985 and celebrated Dec. 5. Two awards are presented in each category of youth, adult and senior. Since the inception of the awards program in 2000, 103 Alberta volunteers have received the honour.
The Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards program is an integral part of the Government of Alberta’s commitment to the volunteer sector. Recognition programs help set a standard for service, encourage a commitment to civic participation and inspire others to make volunteering a central part of their lives.