The Maple Ridge Community Foundation announced the finalists for Citizen of the Year on Friday, April 15. (Maple Ridge Community Foundation/Special to The News)

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation announced the finalists for Citizen of the Year on Friday, April 15. (Maple Ridge Community Foundation/Special to The News)

Citizens of the Year finalists announced in Maple Ridge

Three finalists announced for each award

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation has announced the nine finalists for Citizen of the Year.

For the Lifetime Achievement Award the finalists are Dr. Matt DeBruyn, Sandi Temple, and Dr. Robert Masse.

Dr. Matt DeBruyn is an economist by profession, who moved to Maple Ridge from Edmonton in 1989 with his wife Lynda. He has been involved in numerous community projects and initiatives, during his spare time – and using his own resources – and has volunteered locally, nationally and/or internationally, through Rotary.

Sandi Temple has called Maple Ridge home for the past 40 years. Some of her volunteer efforts include helping to raise funds for Autism Canada, the BC Cancer Society, and Lupus & Lymphoma.

She has also raised funds for the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society, the Alouette River Management Society, and helped children and adults with disabilities receive therapy at the North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Society She also helped to send children to camp at the Zajac Ranch.

Dr. Robert Masse, a Maple Ridge city councillor from 2011-2018, created an office team to support local fundraisers and served on the British Columbia Chiropractic Board. He was the chair of the Vistas Run from 2005-2009 and successfully rounded up community leaders, volunteers, and runners to raise more than $130,000 for McKinney Creek Hospice.

He organized a Nearly Neal show at the ACT to say thank you to local hospital staff. Masse has also volunteered on the Downtown Maple Ridge Security Committee. He was a member of the Division of Family Practice local action team, and worked to bring child and youth mental health and substance abuse programs to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Finalists for the Teesha Sharma Under 40 Award are Oliver Vajda, Amy Pridday, and Jesse Sokol.

Oliver Vajda is a gym trainer who loves to inspire youth to find their potential through martial arts and fitness. He started volunteering when he was 17 and now at 29-years-old, not only inspires youth, but adults of all ages.

He volunteers four hours of his time a week at Marcus Soares Brazilian Ju Jitsu, where he has taught for 12 years. He has volunteered at Jiu Jitsu tournaments as a referee, time and score keeper.

He has also taught numerous self defense classes in partnership with Indigenous Sports, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (ISPARC).

Amy Pridday works at the Division of Family Practice supporting health care in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows. She also manages many projects that create awareness directing patients where to go for healthcare or advertise for physicians to join the community.

Outside of her work, Pridday volunteers and gives her time to numerous organizations that support youth mental health, isolated and lonely seniors, and arts and culture.

She is on the Bouquets for Baba leadership team and has helped design campaigns, and to promote tactics and media strategy. Bouquets for Baba is a not-for-profit organization that provides flower bouquets to seniors living in long-term, palliative or hospice care to remind them that they are not alone.

Jesse Sokol has volunteered his time to steer people affected by substance use to helpful resources and rehabilitation. He is a co-founder of the Non-Judgemental Recovery group with Dena Jones, and has helped more than 50 people seek treatment by driving them to facilities and appointments, gathering and distributing hygiene supplies to them, and building relationships of trust. Both Sokol and Jones host Non-Judgemental Recovery group meetings weekly in Maple Ridge and Mission.

And, finalists for the Youth Award are Harley McFarlane, Mya VanDerMey, and Sophia Barker-Voisine.

Harley McFarlane has been a member of Rebels for A Cause (the Student Action Team) for the past five years. She participates actively in weekly meetings and various campaigns in support of numerous causes and charities – campaigns like ‘Halloween for Hunger’, the ‘Vow of Silence’ and others.

Other campaigns she has been involved in through the Student Action Team are: the Christmas Food Hamper for the past five years; the Me to We Rafiki bracelets fundraiser to build a well in a third world country; and a clothing drive she organized for the Developmental Disabilities Association.

Mya VanDerMey supported a young local youth with heart complications who went through heart surgery and was also instrumental in supporting another local youth who was battling cancer – raising money for their family so they could be with him while he was undergoing treatment.

VanDerMey started running her own bake shop at age 13. The 14-year-old provided five dozen “cancer cookies” with proceeds going to a Camp for Cancer campaign for local families who need financial support to take time off with their loved ones.

Sophia Barker-Voisine, a Grade 11 student at Westview Secondary School, volunteers as a youth mentor in the Future Leaders Mentorship Program, run by The Family Education and Support Centre.

Barker-Voisine is dedicated to her role in helping children in the community and has developed a strong connection with the children and staff who participate in the School’s Out Program.

The foundation is gearing up for a Masquerade Party to celebrate the 2022 Citizens of the Year.

The Masquerade Party will feature acoustic vocal duo Almost Famous, who have a catalog of more than 650 songs from the 1960’s to modern hits. There will be a buffet-style dinner, both a silent and live auction, the awards presentation, and a night of dancing.

Fundraising has already begun for the foundation with $31,240 raised so far of a $50,000 goal.

All funds from this event will go towards supporting the foundation and the work they do in the community, supporting non-profits, individuals and families.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge Community Foundation planning Masquerade Party for gala

ALSO: Maple Ridge Community Foundation accepting 2022 Citizen of the Year nominations

Winners will be announced at the foundation’s Masquerade Fundraising Dinner on Saturday, April 23rd , 2022.

The 2022 Citizen of the Year Awards will take place from 6-11:55 p.m. on April 23 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club, 19675 Meadow Gardens Way, in Pitt Meadows.

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