Kristi Blakeway

Kristi Blakeway

Two ‘women of distinction’ nominated

Diana Allen of Pitt Meadows and Thomas Haney vice-principal Kristi Blakeway are two of 60 up for awards.

Two local woman are among 60 nominees for YWCA Metro Vancouver’s 31st annual Women of Distinction Awards.

Diana Allen of Pitt Meadows is one of the first hydro geologists in the world to systematically study the potential effects of climate change on groundwater sources, Allen’s research addresses critical sustainability issues.

She combines excellence in hydrogeological research with a steadfast commitment to collaborating with the local communities where she works.

“I am dedicated to promoting sustainable and safe drinking water to all people,” said Allen.

“Of utmost importance is provision to clean water to children both in Canada and abroad because even for the poverty stricken, access to clean water is a human right.”

Allen has worked extensively with the B.C. government and has made important contributions to the development of public policy.

She recently led a SFU inter-disciplinary research team studying effects of climate change on human health and ecosystem health.

Allen is nominated in the environmental sustainability category.

Thomas Haney secondary vice-principal Kristi Blakeway has also been named as a candidate for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award.

Blakeway’s work with Beyond Hello and Project HELLO, and her ability to inspire students to make a difference in the lives of those on the Downtown Eastside and elsewhere, earned her the nomination.

She has been nominated in the Education, Training, and Development category,

Project Hello is a program Blakeway started when she was working in the Coquitlam School District, then brought to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district.

She originally started with a group of students doing outreach work on the Downtown Eastside at Christmas time. They had gifts of essentials like socks, but Blakeway wanted to try and infuse a little Christmas spirit in them, as well.

She had her class make up cards, which she suggested could be exchanged between people in the area.

But when the students offered the cards to people in the streets, the reaction was, “If I write a card to my family, could you mail it?”

They had seven such requests that first year in 2009, and with diligence and a little luck, they got the cards to five families.

The effort became an organization known as Project Hello, and it has now reunited more than 300 people with their families, through card-giving on both Mother’s Day and during the Christmas season.

The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards honours individuals and organizations whose activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community.

Awards will be handed out June 3.