2012 Bhayana Family Foundation Award Recipients

Recipients of the 2012 Bhayana Family Foundation Awards

Recognizing employees of United Way Toronto funded agencies

The Bhayana Family Foundation Awards recognize extraordinary contributions made by staff at United Way Toronto funded agencies. They are awarded by United Way Toronto based on peer nominations received in the following five categories: Dedication, Leadership, Team Achievement, Innovation and Creativity, Partnership Builder, and self-nomination for the sixth category, Community Partnership.

The dedication, creativity and team spirit shown by employees of agencies funded by United Way Toronto is essential to advancing the common good, community and neighbourhood building, and creating a better city for us all.

These awards are made possible by a generous donation from the Madan and Raksha M. Bhayana Family Foundation. View photos from the Bhayana Family Foundation Awards.

Dedication Awards

The purpose of the Dedication Award is to recognize and reward employees who are dedicated to the mission and values of their agency. These individuals demonstrate unwavering loyalty and commitment to the success of a specific project or to the ongoing interests of the agency.

Alberto Rodil
Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office

Alberto Rodil - Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office

Alberto possesses an unwavering loyalty and commitment to the success of every project he is involved in. As demonstrated by his dedication and leadership in going above and beyond the call of duty by fundraising over $14,000 to repatriate the body of Girlie Dioquino who succumbed to cancer in May 2012. Girlie was a client of Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office since June 2011, and was facing difficulties with Immigration Canada. Thanks to the help of Alberto, Girlie was able to complete the appropriate paperwork, thus allowing her to stay in Canada as a Permanent Resident. However, shortly after receiving the status of her immigration she fell sick and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer. Roberto quickly led a grassroots fundraising campaign to help assist with funeral costs and supporting Girlie’s family in her native Philippines. To quote his nominators, “Alberto’s performance rating in the agency in 2011 was outstanding and he is determined to maintain his outstanding performance in 2012 and beyond.”

Cristina dos Santos
ACCES Employment

Cristina dos Santos - ACCES Employment

Cristina is an essential contributor to the welcoming environment every client who walks through the agency doors experiences. Recognized for her 10 years of extraordinary dedication and service to the organization, Cristina is multi-talented and solutions oriented. Cristina first started out with the agency as a volunteer and then quickly became an administrative assistant, executive assistant, and today the manager of administration. She leads all office administrative functions and was key in the agency's submission of five proposals — meeting all deadlines for funding. In all her roles, customer care is paramount to her approach. To quote her nominators, “Tireless, focused and goal oriented, Cristina takes the mission of the organization as her own mission. Sometimes people who work behind the scenes to make an organization as strong as they can be are not recognized for the impact on the agencies mission — to help immigrants who come to Canada.”

Aamer Esmail
Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Aamer Esmail - Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Because of Aamer’s dedication, what was once a fledgling youth program has now blossomed into a vibrant youth department. Since Aamer has dedicated his efforts to the department, the participants of the youth program have become seeped into the fabric of all that Access Alliance does — empowering the young people in their communities. Aamer works tirelessly to explore new avenues of funding sources to keep the youth department active and vibrant. He is also supportive of colleagues and encourages other to achieve their personal best. To quote his nominators, “I was inspired to nominate Aamer because of how invaluable he has made himself at Access Alliance. He has taken every opportunity to advance in the agency and proven himself by succeeding in every transition he has made. With a ‘can-do’ attitude, he took on managing the youth team and propelled the department to one that can now boast almost 5,300 encounters.”

Partnership Builder Award

The purpose of Partnership Builder Award is to recognize and reward employees who make outstanding contributions to their community by recognizing, engaging and maximizing the potential of relationships with key external partners, such as residents, schools, associations, other agencies, businesses and funders.

Paulina Maciulis

Paulina Maciulis - OCASI

Paulina has spent 25 years developing partnerships that meet community needs with OCASI. She understands the non-profit sector needs and leverages her knowledge and skills to create meaningful impact in a creative way and is always advocating for a shared and common vision. Among her many accomplishments, Paulina was involved in developing partnerships that improved service standards in the immigrant and refugee-serving sector she also developed partnerships with labour and employment rights-focused organizations to improve awareness of workers’ rights. Her collaborative partnership efforts have improve access to services through providing interpretation and translation for newcomers. Paulina was instrumental in establishing the first partnership between OCASI and George Brown College, which led to immigrant settlement services becoming an increasingly important component in community works program curriculum. To quote her nominators, “Paulina Maciulis is the voice of reason and fairness at OCASI, always calling people’s attention to do the right thing and never afraid to speak her mind. Throughout the years working in the sector she humbles us with her heart, sincerity, dedication, passion and hard work for equity and justice. Paulina has always fought injustice and inequality, by applying community development, partnerships, and democratic principles.”

Jeff Gruchy
Downsview Services for Seniors

Jeff Gruchy - Downsview Services for Seniors

Jeff is recognized for connecting older adults with the community services they need. Because of Jeff’s deep understanding of the needs of the community, he has been able to secure new partnerships, expand program and services to hard-to-reach and isolated seniors, and developed strong relationships. Jeff is a stronger believer in equitable partnerships that are true win-wins scenerios that are focused on the impact they will have on stakeholders. This is demonstrated in the growth of the Walking Club, now with 150 participants, his leadership on the Occupational Health & Safety committee, and his active involvement in StreetSport — a Civic Action, DiverseCity Fellows, a project he co-founded. To quote his nominators, “Jeff has gone above and beyond with his efforts to contribute to the community and strengthen the social fabric of not only the Downsview Services for Seniors’ Catchment area but the Greater Toronto Area region.”

Innovation and Creativity Awards

The purpose of the Innovation and Creativity Award is to recognize and reward employees who introduce new ideas, services or practices in new and imaginative ways. These individuals contribute innovative solutions to their organization or make major improvements to agency operations or services provided.

Maria Bernard
For Youth Initiative in Toronto

Maria Bernard - For Youth Initiative in Toronto

Maria is recognized for her ideas that increase revenue, reduce cost and improve services for For Youth Initiative (F.Y.I.). Maria has taken every opportunity to seek out strategic and innovative tools and techniques to simplify administrative work and therefore increase efficiency. Her vision has been long-term, selecting tools and methods that provide for continuous enhancement of efficiency and productivity, and allowing F.Y.I. to continue to focus the bulk of its energy and resources on its work in the community. Through Maria’s efforts the agency is now better positioned for fundraising, organization to organization mentorship, equipped with improved quality standards, and information and technology systems. It is through Maria’s efforts that F.Y.I. successfully fundraised almost $60,000 in 2011. She also implemented two innovative programs: Agency Mentorship Program and the Power of ONE program, in addition to acquiring sponsorship for community programs from several banking institutions. To quote her nominators, “Maria sees every new staff as an opportunity to encourage critical thinking and analysis. She does not insist that staff prescribe to particular perspectives or beliefs, but instead encourages questioning the status quo and employing creative solutions to complex problems.”

Yousra Dabbouk
Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Yousra Dabbouk - Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Yousra is an ideal example of creativity and innovation in the non-profit sector. She quietly contributes creative ideas to boost morale and makes the Nutrition Team a visible, tangible aspect of the agencies community’s services. She also builds innovative partnerships to sustain the work at Access Alliance Yousra’s contagious enthusiasm for everything creative is contagious. She is a dreamer that puts her creative ideas into action. Most recently, she spearheaded a Nutrition and Puppetry project, as a creative means to engage children and youth in conversations about Nutrition and Health. She consulted with other doing related work, supported the design and creation of characters and stories with community members and built in a mentorship component whereby older youth would support younger children to become nutrition ambassadors to their peers and directors of their own stories. To quote her nominators, “She never expects acknowledgement for her work. She inspires without others knowing she is the source of their inspiration. Her innovation and creativity create more opportunities and unique ways for community members and colleagues to engage with community health work in a memorable and meaningful way.”

Julia Migounova
Bernard Betel Centre

Julia Migounova - Bernard Betel Centre

Julia is recognized for her ideas that increase revenue, reduce cost and improve services. Most of the Russian-speaking seniors who access programs and services are socially isolated due to poverty, newcomer status and language barriers. Julia has made it possible for those individuals to make a real connection to the community. She challenges existing assumptions and thinks outside of the box. She has purposely worked toward shifting the attitudes and focus in the community towards the elder Russian-speaking immigrants. As well, she works with others to promote, implement and adjust solutions to change situations. In the past year, Julia has successfully built up the Health at Home program, which is now offered at six buildings instead of just four, and over 800 isolated seniors now have access to community based supports. To quote her nominators, “As an immigrant woman with a disability, she came to Canada and rose above adversity and her limitations to achieve a masters degree in Social Work last year. Her time and project management skills as well as her superior interpersonal communication skills in both English and Russian are the pillars on which her strong foundations of work ethic is anchored.”

Team Achievement Awards

The purpose of the Team Achievement Award is to recognize and reward teams who work extremely well together to achieve a common goal. Together, these individuals demonstrate commitment to success through excellent and consistent performance.

Youth Services Team
East Scarborough Boys’ & Girls’ Club

Youth Services Team - East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club

The Youth Services Team is a new team of youth workers who bring with them new ideas, energy and passion. They inspire veteran staff with new ways of thinking. For some change can be daunting, however, for the Youth Services Team it has been an opportunity to recommit to the organizations goals and challenge each other to achieve the very best. The youth department concentrates on two major areas: youth outreach and youth programs. This summer, the Kingston Galloway community was negatively impacted by a tragic act of violence on Danzig Street. One of the victims of the senseless shooting, Shyanne Charles, was a member of the Club. She was a friend to many. The Youth Services Team worked closely with the Charles family and community members to provide support in the days that followed. This is in addition to other activities like the back-to school BBQ, candle light vigil, open mic night, the Unity in the Community Conference and many more activities. The team reached out to the community in an effort to help with the healing by providing support through emotional counselling and hosted trauma counselling at the Club. The team also worked with local service provides to provide door-to-door counselling and tried to gain perspective on what the youth and community needs were to find appropriate responses/community resources. To quote their nominators, “It is often through times of real adversity that you get to see a community come together in support and love and as an avenue to services and a place for people to discuss any and all of their wants and needs — the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of East Scarborough represents itself as “a good place to be.”

Dufferin Mall Employment Services
Skills for Change — Dufferin Mall Employment Services

Dufferin Mall Employment Services

The Dufferin Mall Employment Services team has effectively supported individuals in their path to skill training and employment by providing information and referrals, individual/group employment counselling, skills assessment, service delivery plans, and workshops related to job search tools and techniques. As diverse individuals they have come together as a cohesive team to deliver optimal services. They share information, new techniques and strategies amongst each other in order to ensure that clients achieve their career goals. In 2011/2012 the team was vital in assessing 352 clients for securing employment, and another 85 clients were approved for Second Career and the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Through their combined efforts the team reached over 4,400 clients. To quote their nominators, “As a team we are efficient, accurate, and productive and although clients may not be aware of how our system works, they clearly know it works given the countless testimonials each staff member have received.”

LGBTQ Inclusion Work Group
The Macaulay Child Development Centre

LGBTQ Inclusion Work Group - The Macaulay Child Development Centre

The LGBTQ Inclusion Work Group team (LGBTQ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer/Questioning) has demonstrated a strong and innovative model of teamwork and team leadership. A small group of staff members initially proposed the idea of an LGBTQ Work Group to address issues of staff knowledge and skills regarding inclusion of LGBTQ families. Group members support each other and share leadership. Various staff members across departments have become involved sharing skills, abilities and experiences. With the teams combined efforts they have made tremendous contribution within the agency, within Macaulay’s client group and beyond — reducing fear and stigma for everyone. To quote their nominators, “This group has demonstrated the courage and commitment to address a sensitive and potentially controversial area of diversity. They have responded to a range of comments and questions about LGBTQ issues with professionalism and respect. They have followed through on their vision with hard work and a clear plan of action. Moreover, they have opened new leadership opportunities to colleagues by inviting staff to present new information and resources.”

Leadership Awards

The purpose of the Leadership Award is to recognize and reward employees who demonstrate exemplary leadership capabilities and consistently achieve superior, team-based results. These leaders play an exceptional role in helping others contribute to their organization and advance its mission.

Gordon Gunning
CANES Community Care

Gordon Gunning - CANES Community Care

As CEO for CANES Community Care, Gordon Gunning is in a position where part of his role is to empower others and delegate that fosters responsibility. However, he does in it such a way where he has much respect from all of his colleagues and personnel. He is very encouraging to all of his staff and colleagues — this goes from frontline workers to Board members. He takes time to know his staff and ensures their hard work is recognized. He has also lead the agency in successfully attaining accreditation standards, ushered in a new way of doing business and partnering by securing a joint venture agreement with two other organizations. This enhanced service delivery of care services and capacity to seniors in an every expanding market place within the Greater Toronto Region. These are just some of Gordon’s recent accomplishments. To quote his nominators, “With his great sense of business aptitude and great respect he has for all of his employees, he is truly wonderful and a hard worker who is dedicated to the success of CANES Community Care. He is great spirited and has exemplary management capabilities and consistently achieves superior based results. His dedication to provide the highest quality of services is truly an inspiration that many of this colleagues and staff have adopted.”

Randy Heasman
St. Stephen’s Community House

Randy Heasman - St. Stephen's Community House

Randy is recognized for his extraordinary encouragement and openness. He encourages staff by providing learning opportunities. He actively seeks out new projects that give staff the opportunity to learn new skills and gain different and more varied experiences. Randy believes in providing extra support to anyone that shows interest in growing professionally. Throughout his 30-year career at St. Stephen’s, Randy has built key and productive relationships with stakeholders. These stakeholders go beyond funders and include a large network of not-for-profit organizations and clients. Those who work with him day to day can attest to the fact that he is an exemplary example of being a leader without a title when he held positions as an outreach worker and counsellor. To quote his nominators, “His leadership qualities are numerous, but the one that stands out is Randy’s consistent commitment to participant-focus services. He firmly believes in the power each of his staff have in making a difference in the lives of those we work with and gives us every opportunity to better ourselves.”

Alison Kilbourn
Circle of Care

Alison Kilbourn - Circle of Care

Alison is recognized for her ability to build strong relationships and communicates effectively with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders. Through her leadership she is able to manage cross-organizational teams, promote diversity, and provide solutions that enhance the teams’ ability to implement change. As a leader, Alison manages a number of internal and external projects including, the Resident Assessment Instrument cross-organizational team, she leads the agency orientation for new employees, and also successfully implements her project goals seamlessly with constant communication with her peers and the senior management team. This approach has allowed her to move projects forward in a collaborative and timely manner. To quote her nominators, “Alison’s calm demeanor and constant smile encourages cooperation and a team approach by those involved. Alison has garnered respect from all levels of the organization and the reputation of a go-to person to get something done with those involved. It is hard not to be inspired to follow her lead and take action.”

Community Partnership Award

The purpose of the Community Partnership Award is to recognize a partnership between three or more organizations that commit themselves to working together on a specific project or initiative to produce outcomes that one partner working alone could not achieve. Whereby exemplifying principles of teamwork, diversity, sense of common purpose to address root causes of social problems and make a significant contribution to the community they serve.

Bridge to Success (B2S) Project Partnership

Bridge to Success (B2S) Project Partnership

The Bridge to Success (B2S) Project Partnership works toward raising the bar on youth academic success by providing educational enhancement support for grade 9 students and other students deemed academically or socially at risk. These students develop youth leadership capacity and civic engagement knowledge. The program also provides networking opportunities for youth to achive overall success. The program improves the life and educational options for youth in Jamestown and gives hope to youth and their families for a better quality of life, while addressing systemic barriers, that those experiencing poverty face in Jamestown is key to the success of this partnership. Members of the B2S partnership foster a sense of common purpose to address these root causes by way of a number of methods and best practices. The partnership provides expanded curriculum enhancement opportunities for youth who face multiple barriers to success, improves community understanding of educational issues and school board practices and increase support mechanisms for youth. Year two of the program has already seen results — 95 per cent of youth indicated that their grades improved since attending the program. To quote their nominators, “The alliance is successful because the partnership is between a school, a community-based organization, and the school board, with one common goal — the success of at-risk students. It’s an innovative partnership that is acknowledged by all partners and external stakeholders as beneficial to you and the community. The partnership works within a framework that ensures all partners are meeting their commitments. As partners, we have all understood the importance of building a good rapport between all stakeholders including students and teachers. We acknowledge and utilize the strength that each partner brings to the table.”

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