Six outstanding Albertans have been recognized at the 2019 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards in Edmonton.
The awards coincide with International Volunteer Day on Dec. 5, a global initiative established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985.
“We are humbled and grateful for the many volunteers who are the heartbeat of the social, cultural and recreational programming that we enjoy in our communities. Each day, these Stars of Alberta recipients give their time and talents to special events, causes and projects that make life better for Albertans in so many different ways. Congratulations to this year’s award recipients who are a gift to our communities, an inspiration to others and shining examples of Alberta’s long-standing spirit of volunteerism.”Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women
Two awards are presented in the youth, adult and senior categories. This year’s recipients include:
- Braydon Fix (youth), Sherwood Park
- Maryanne Leathwaite (youth), Okotoks
- Alicia Bjarnason (adult), Calgary
- Penny Steffen (adult), Grimshaw
- Madeleine (Maggie) Gervais (senior), McLennan
- Knud Petersen (senior), Lethbridge
The Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards program started in 2000 and since then, 127 Alberta volunteers have received the honour.
Stars of Alberta is part of the government’s efforts to recognize and encourage Albertans to support community initiatives. Volunteer recognition programs help set a standard for service, encourage a sustained commitment to civic participation and inspire others to make volunteering a central part of their lives.
Alberta has more than 26,000 non-profit organizations with more than 1.6 million volunteer positions working to ensure important programs, services and community facilities are available.
Maryanne Leathwaite – Okotoks
Maryanne’s desire to help everyone drives her to make a difference, one good deed at a time.
Maryanne has been a dedicated volunteer for various groups at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She is a member of Kids Helping Kids organization, where kids use their creative energy to fundraise for the hospital, from lemonade stands to clothing donation drives.
Maryanne is also a member of the Youth Philanthropy Council with the hospital, promoting child health in the community through advocacy and fundraising efforts. The council plans and executes the annual Metamorphosis Gala, raising thousands of dollars to support mental health initiatives. Maryanne plays a crucial role on the team and helped raise over $15,000 this year in support of the new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre.
Maryanne is always the first to volunteer to take on new tasks and help at many additional hospital events, including Fall Harvest, Candy Cane Gala, and RBC Race for the Kids, to name a few.
Maryanne has always been eager to help raise awareness and support for the hospital. She volunteers every year at Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day, acts as ambassador for the ATB Teddy for a Toonie Campaign, participating in a video highlighting the importance of Brain Health.
Besides her full-time volunteer schedule at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Maryanne volunteers at ME to WE group, raising funds and awareness about poverty. She was a guest speaker at the 2017 WE Day sharing with the audience the importance of giving back.
Maryanne also contributes her time as a leader and a volunteer councillor at Easter Seals Camp Horizon.
Nominated by Rena Vaudry, community member