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Citizens of the year for Maple Ridge named

Maple Ridge Community Foundation holds annual awards night
The Citizen of the Year awards were held on Saturday, as a virtual event.

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation has announced its Citizen of the Year Award winners for 2020.

Karen Wakita won for lifetime achievement.

Jennifer Bailie won the Teesha Sharma Memorial Award for those under 40.

Emily Barker Voisine won for youth.

The 2020 Citizen of the Year Awards was held on Saturday night as a virtual event this year.

Wakita is described by the foundation as a dedicated, quiet and unassuming person who works tirelessly year after year supporting her community. A dedicated nurse, she is also a passionate advocate for seniors with dementia. She currently serves on the board for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Senior’s Network and also volunteers as the wellness clinic coordinator for the Maple Ridge Seniors Centre and as a First Link facilitator for the Alzheimer Society.

Wakita has volunteered in a number of ways, and has been instrumental in her support of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest, helping with administration and volunteer management. For 19 years she was a volunteer with the Cythera Thrift Store. Most recently she began operating the Caregivers Cafe at Golden Ears United Church.

Baillie is a children’s programmer with City of Maple Ridge parks, rec and culture. She is involved with many charities including Ridge Meadows Hospice, Music Heals, Help-Portrait and the local Puttin’ On The Glitz grad event. She co-chaired both the Athlete Participant Events for BC Summer Games and the Rotary Youth Impact Summit, and is currently the President of the Youth Centre Society.

Baillie has also led adult and youth volunteer work projects worldwide including Rwanda, India, Cambodia, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge Citizen of the Year finalists announced

Voisine is attending SFU, and received six scholarships and bursaries because of her many community contributions.

In Grade 5 she co-founded an anti-bullying group at Maple Ridge Elementary. She received a humanitarian award and was recognized as a “Leader of Tomorrow” for her volunteerism, leadership, and work in raising awareness about Indigenous issues in the community.

At Westview Secondary, she volunteered for the school district’s annual Indigenous Ignite Youth camps. She was a Link Crew Leader and also volunteered for non-profit organizations including the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Ridge Meadows Hospital through the VolunTEEN Program and Residential Care Recreation Volunteerism.

Voisine has volunteered as an Indigenous student mentor, and participated in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls March. She received both the SD42 Si:yam Cultural Leadership Award and the Aboriginal Award of Excellence award and was honoured by the Fraser Valley Indigenous Society for her work in mentoring Indigenous youth.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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