Maple Ridge top citizen awards expanded

New categoes for Under 40 and Youth

Teesha Sharma

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation’s annual Citizen of the Year award winners will be announced on Saturday.

This year there will be awards in three categories: Lifetime Achievement, Under 40, and Youth.

For the Lifetime Achievement award, the three finalist nominees are Biju Mathew, Julie Koehn and Kim Dumore.

For the Under 40 award, the three finalists are Chelsea Keenan, Cheryl Zandbergen and Teesha Sharma.

The Youth award winner was announced last month, and Ryder Moore, an eight-year-old who has established the Ryder’s Rainboots charity to help give homeless people rain gear, is the winner.

The other nominees were Marlowe Evans and Gurleen Goraya.

The award is for people 18 and under.

“They are an amazing group of people,” Kristi Ferguson, with the foundation, said of the nine nominees.

She said the foundation is now in its 27th year of issuing the awards, and for the first time the executive wanted to add more categories.

There are people in the city doing amazing things, Ferguson said but their accomplishments did not compare to the longest-serving volunteers in the city.

“So it has historically been a lifetime achievement award,” she added.

The people in the Under 40 category fit a profile of up-and-coming leaders in the community, she said.

“They are all outstanding, very worthy nominees.”

Lifetime Achievement

• Dr. Biju Mathew has been nominated for his volunteer work with the Ridge Meadows South Asian Cultural Society, Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, Youth Wellness Centre, Nurse Practitioner program and MRCF’s 25/40 Campaign. He donates all proceeds from his best-selling book, Super 30 – the Anand Kumar story, to the Super 30 teaching program in India.

• Julie Koehn has been nominated for her dedicated volunteer work at Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, Maple Ridge Historical Society, Community Heritage Commission, Alouette Correctional Centre Citizen Advisory Board, SPEC, Earth Day, Girl Guides of Canada, Family Education Centre, Webster’s Corners Community Association. She was a founding director of the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, and served on the board of directors for 30 years.

• Kim Dumore has been nominated for her selfless volunteer work throughout the community, including Cythera Store, PLEA, Youth Unlimited, Humans of Maple Ridge event, Maple Ridge Opioid Overdose Response Task Group, Golden Ears Kiwanis Club, Maple Ridge Arts Council, Friends in Need Food Bank and Puttin’ on the Glitz. She is the current chair of the school system’s District Parent Advisory Committee.

Under 40

• Chelsea Keenan has been nominated for her dedication to teaching yoga classes with a charitable twist. After taking a self-exploration journey, which led her to exciting places around the world and obtaining her yoga teacher certification, Keenan’s generous spirit called to her to return home, and give back to her community by increasing engagement in wellness. She has developed a series of donation-based yoga classes dedicated to a variety of Maple Ridge charities.

• Cheryl Zandbergen has been nominated for creating and leading the Moms Gone Wild group in Maple Ridge. Established to create a comfortable space for mothers to join activities in a judgment-free, supportive environment, Moms Gone Wild hosts several events each week. Zandbergen leads this group to participate in many fundraisers, including the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper and fundraising for local families facing hard times, illness or crisis.

• Teesha Sharma is recognized for her volunteer outreach work in the community. Teesha commits herself to local homeless youth by preparing them daily meals, administering first-aid, and providing personal support. She is on the board of the Golden Ears Transition Initiative and is a founding member of the Youth Wellness Centre.

The winners will be announced at the annual Fundraising Dinner and Citizen of the Year Awards presentation, being held Saturday at the Meadows Gardens Golf Club, 6 p.m.

The theme for the night is “Fully, Completely Maple Ridge.”

The foundation’s goal is to recognize people who serve their community without regard to personal gain.

“I’m amazed at Maple Ridge with the committed volunteers we’ve got, and the work they do,” said foundation executive assistant Jacquie Montgomery.

“I just think about the Ridge Meadows Home Show that we just had, and all the work that it takes to make that happen, as an example.”

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Dr. Biju Mathew

Cheryle Zandbergen

Chelsea Keenan

Julie Koehn

Kim Dumore

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