Joyce Murray
Hon. Joyce Murray
Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra
Hidden Heroes 2020

Catherine Diyakonov    

Catherine is a student at Lord Byng Secondary School and a member of the Vancouver District Student Council.  Through a club at her school she founded the Girls Will Stay initiative aimed at helping girls keep educated, healthy, and sheltered both locally and in global communities.  

Some of the projects she and the initiative’s members have organized include donating proceeds to the Sega Girls School in Kenya, organizing care packages for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, and participating in Covenant House Vancouver’s Thank-a-Thon Nights.

The Girls will Stay initiative and her passion for STEM and eliminating gender stereotypes led Catherine to be selected as a 2020 TEDx Crofton House speaker.  

Catherine also volunteers to organize school events such as the Canley Cup and the Digital Arts Gala; she has sorted donations at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and is a member of her school’s First Responder’s Team - treating injuries from minor cuts to sprained ankles. 

Mike Feely

Mike Feely is a pillar of the University Neighbourhoods Association at UBC (UNA).  He served on the UNA Board, including as Chair, for over four years.  He was on the Planning Committee for Wesbrook Community Centre, and recently was on the Bylaw Committee helping transition the UNA Board to being all elected by residents.  

In addition to his UNA volunteer work, Mike has served as a second for the Area A Director to the Metro Vancouver Board for over 2 years (and continues this work currently).  In all his efforts, he provides thoughtful and well-informed leadership.

Robert “Rusty” Gordon

“Rusty” is the heart of Beaver Scout programming in Dunbar. He has been an active Scout Leader in the Dunbar community since the early 1980s and has helped to shape two generations of scouts and scouting leaders.   For the past 10 years, he has also organized and run the wood branding activity at Night Quest at Pacific Spirit Regional Park. 

Rusty draws on a tremendous reservoir of experience and ideas while retaining a passion for introducing Beavers (the youngest of the Scouts group) to the outdoors, our national history, and the world around them.  He can often be found sourcing new materials on nature, the neighbourhood, space exploration, plus other topics of interest, and providing parents with additional materials to keep Beavers engaged outside of meetings.  Over the course of the Pandemic, Rusty increased the frequency and volume of materials, helping parents find more to do with their kids.

Ann Howe

Ann has repeatedly spotted the need for action long before it comes to the attention of any organized group.  Some years ago, she noticed a group of men hanging out near 4th Ave and Alma. She began talking to them, and discovered that they were homeless and living mostly in the woods near Jericho Park. Ann listened to their stories and found a way to act.

With the help of others, Ann started "Out-of-the Cold," a weekly dinner program run out of West Point Grey United Church.  Over time, the number of people (men and women) coming for a weekly home-cooked meal rose to over 60.

For eleven years, Ann monitored every aspect of the program, from raising funds to working in the kitchen to lending an ear to individuals whose needs required additional intervention. Ann stopped only when Parkinson's disease limited both her physical and her communication skills. 

Ann Howe is a role model to many showing us how to simply be a decent human being. 

Sehaj Hundal

 

Sehaj is a U-Hill Secondary Grad who possesses great communication skills and seemingly boundless energy.  Among other things, she is a UNA Youth Volunteer, participant of the Youth Leadership Program, and member of the UTown/UNA Community Grant Committee. 

She has helped support projects that include: Community Haunted Houses, Mental Health and Self-Care Evenings, Youth Dialogues, and a Sustainability Action Conference. 

Across Sehaj’s hundreds of volunteer hours over the last three years she has helped the UNA evaluate, understand and meet the needs of youth in our community, create new initiatives, and make a safe space in the Wesbrook Community Centre. 

Galen Hutcheson

A convener, community builder and organizer, Galen is often behind the scenes, guiding and connecting. She has organized a quarterly gathering of women for a social “chat & chew,” obtained community grants to throw a block party for seniors, newcomers, group home residents and families in her neighbourhood, and served on the Bumble Bee Preschool Board and since 2012, on the Maple Grove PAC.

Galen is also an advocate: a member of the Steering Committee for the Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education (PAN) for the past 3.5 years, a committee member of the BC Coalition of Parent Advisory Councils, a member of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, and PAN’s representative to First Call BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.

Karen James

Karen is a volunteer leader in the Jewish community in Vancouver and an active fundraiser for a wide variety of charitable organizations.  Her experience as an Olympic athlete at the Munich Summer Games in 1972 and the tragedy that unfolded there profoundly affected her life and has given her a powerful message in her public speaking engagements across Canada. 

Karen is the current chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, former chair and board member of Jewish Family Services, an Advisory board member the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee and is just finishing a term on JFNA’s National Women’s Philanthropy.

Natalie Jatskevich

Natalie is a tireless UBC community volunteer for over 15 years, with her energy and passion dedicated to supporting community needs in healthy communities, quality child care and healthy child development. 

Throughout the years, Natalie has volunteered countless hours at UBC Hospital, UBC Child Care Services, Norma Rose Point School and University Neighbourhood Association, as well as advocated for improving pedestrian safety in UBC communities and providing quality child care options for families residing on campus. One example of Natalie's successful community initiatives is the Walking School Bus program at Norma Rose Point School. Founded in 2014, this program promotes a healthy lifestyle for children, encourages them to walk to and from school and engage with others across multiple grades, teaches children pedestrian safety, provides supervision for children on their way to and from school, and offers community engagement opportunities for middle school students. 

The Walking School Bus also allows families to meet and interact with other parents and children in the community, making the community stronger, and provides parents with additional time to get to and from work. Students arrive at school happier and healthier, and more ready to learn because they walked with the Walking School Bus. 

Jean Lewandowski

Over the 15 years Jean has lived in Vancouver, she has volunteered for many organizations and helped to found others. She also started the Quadra Granville Seniors Group, a group that works to develop and implement supportive policies for seniors. 

Jean is also an avid knitter. For many years she knit infant hats for Sheway, a Downtown Eastside outreach Program and has now added toques for school-age children in northern BC to her project. Jean developed a website, toquesforkids.ca, as a means of recruiting other knitters and providing knitting instructions. Jean will be shipping hundreds of hats to northern schools in the fall. 

Lana Marks Pulver

Lana is a dedicated community volunteer, providing leadership, strong strategic and organizational skills and the desire to roll up her sleeves and get things done. 

She has taken on a wide array of charitable board positions, and some major philanthropic events. Her past activities include 12 years as a Director of the Jewish Community Foundation, 6 years as a Director for Jewish Federation and 11 years as an Advisor and Director for Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver Foundation. She is currently a Director on the board of Save a Child’s Heart and on the BC Local Partnership Council for CIJA (Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs). 

Last year, Lana and her husband, Doug, Co-Chaired the CIJA Words and Deeds Leadership Award Dinner, raising significant funds that are now being used to help fight anti-Semitism and discrimination in our local community. 

This year, during the COVID-19 shutdown, Lana took on extra responsibility creating a gift card platform to help small businesses, and supporting the JFS Food Bank with fundraising as well as packing and delivering groceries. 

Enav Zusman 

Enav is an active community-builder in the Acadia Park neighbourhood of the UNA. As the current president of the Residents Association (APRA) she takes a leadership role in organising events to encourage inclusion, diversity and tolerance. For example, she has initiated a peer-mentoring program to connect residents, who are often new to Canada, with established residents of the community. And as a new mother herself, Enav formed a support group for Acadia Park and UBC student-moms with the goal of helping them stay in school. Enav has also organized multiple community-building initiatives, including field trips, outdoor camping, STEM programs for children, physical activity initiatives and a petting zoo.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Enav set up and ran a volunteer network designed to connect residents needing help with such things as grocery shopping and childcare with neighbours able to provide that support. She also organized a food security initiative that reimbursed up to $50 of the cost of groceries for more than 50 families. Finally, as part of an initiative to reduce stress and support the community through the crisis, she helped develop a number of community-building programs, such as organising and running a painting program for both adults and children, and providing activity books to help keep children in Acadia Park engaged in learning while staying at home.

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