Two Thunder Bay residents have received recognition along with four community projects during the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards.
Noah Barile has received the Young Leader Award for his work on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Tree of Hope initiative. The St. Patrick High School student researched the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls tragedy and designed a website, managed a social media presence and started a GoFundMe campaign.
Barile has also volunteered more than 600 hours to community service by re-designing St. Dominic’s website, volunteering for the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association by tutoring new students to Canada and has taken part in food drives and fundraising $3,300 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
John Kelly of the Thunder Bay Skateboard Coalition received the Community Hero Award for his work advocating for accessible, gender-neutral, low-cost recreation opportunities for youths in the city. Kelly helped design the Marina Park Skateboard/BMX Plaza and cut the official ribbon during the opening of it in 2008. Now Kelly runs a non-profit skateboard shop and uses the earnings to support the local skateboarding scene by hosting competitions, giving free lessons and providing loaner boards to individuals who cannot afford one.
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care were recognized with the Outstanding Community Project Award for their Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) program. The internationally recognized SNAP program began in 2018 as a focused intervention program to help children from ages 6 to 11 who struggle with behavioural issues. The program teaches the children self-control and problem-solving skill and strategies to manage their emotions.
The Outstanding Community Project award also recognized the Tree of Hope Project and Thunder Bay police officer Sharlene Bourdeau for her work on the project that raised awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The Tree of Light campaign started in November of 2019 with a lighting ceremony outside city police headquarters with a crowd of 200 people watching the lighting of 1,200 red bulbs representing the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
This year some 4,000 lights will commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the Indigenous youths at Hammarskjold High School’s KZ Lodge program.
Path 525, an overdose prevention service operated by the NorWest Community Health Centres, received the Outstanding Community Project award. The Path 525 program allows clients to have a safe place to consume illicit substances while receiving safe consumption education, harm reduction supplies and overdose response.
The Outstanding Community Project award went to the Elizabeth Fry Society Northwestern Ontario. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elizabeth Fry Society has created a partnership with Roots to Harvest to supply food for street-involved women. On a weekly basis, the Elizabeth Fry staff and volunteers worked with Roots to Harvest to pack and distribute food bags and to connect to street-involved women to find out their other needs.
Each of the Outstanding Community Projects received a $1,000 award for their community safety efforts. Videos of the winners and projects can be seen online at www.thunder.ca/communitysafetyawards.