Denise Deschene was awarded the Women with Heart Award in 2015. Here she is accepting her award.

Women with Heart nominations open

Award given annually to a woman in the area who has made an impact on those around her

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Women with Heart Award.

Awarded annually to a woman in the area who has made an impact on those around her, the Women’s Contact Society is looking for nominations for the 2018 celebration.

“The reason it is called Women with Heart is women work from the heart,” says Irene Willsie, executive director of the Women’s Contact Society. “There are lots of ways you can get accolades for things like education or sporting accomplishments or business accomplishments but we wanted to recognize women who maybe had those successes but also had heart and passion into what she did for the community.”

Nominations can be for what a woman does in her work, volunteerism or around the community.

“We want it to be very broad minded with a really wide scope because women are part of everything that happens in the community and that’s what we want it to reflect.”

Criteria, according to the Women’s Contact Society, are women who are passionate for their work, career or volunteerism; have generosity of spirit; makes a positive impact; is successful; is a leader; advocates on behalf of those less fortunate than themselves; raises public awareness of violence against women and girls; or raises public awareness of barriers faced by women and girls.

The first award was given out in 2011, and has been awarded every year since.

“Every one brought something different to the community,” says Irene.

Diane Wright, the former superintendent of schools, was the first recipient.

“Diane Wright was a tireless worker with the schools. She would connect the schools with the community and she was a women superintendent that’s never been done before here and never since.”

From there, the award has been given to Joan Gentles, a “tireless advocate for First Nations;” Aileen Hewitt, the founder of the Child Development Centre, “when we gave her the award in 2013 she was a very elderly woman but still passionate about services for children needing to be available in our community”; June Striegler, who was “instrumental in starting Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy”; Denise Deschene, who “does amazing work with youth and is an environmentalist”; Lynette Cobb, who has “literally volunteered thousands and thousands of hours to the Crisis Line”; and Irene Johnson, the education co-ordinator with the Esk’etemc First Nation at Alkali Lake who “is an advocate and leader for aboriginal people to overcome sexual assault, sexual violence, substance abuse and she is a healer.”

Willsie is excited to see who is nominated this year.

“During the wildfires there were many women who did extraordinary things — everything from being a firefighter to some of the women who cooked in their community halls,” she says. “Other women stayed to help fight fires or provide support services to the firefighters during the evacuation.”

Those making a nomination must include an essay of not less than 200 words and not more than 1,000 words.

The board of directors individually reviews each nomination and ranks them. Willsie then compiles the scores.

“If you are wanting to nominate someone, tell us their story,” she says. “The board members may know nothing about the person other than what you wrote about them.”

The winner will be announced at the Women’s Contact Society’s Women’s Day event in March.

“We’re all very busy and it’s important as a community to stop and celebrate once in a while, so that’s our little way of celebrating every year.”

Sometimes, Willsie says she is blown away by women in the community she has never met.

“Some of these women that have received the award I have known very well and some I didn’t know anything about, didn’t know them, didn’t know about their interest and their work and it truly blows you away.”

Just Posted

Grapplers hit mat for first tournament of season

The Lake City Falcons wrestling team brought home loads of hardware during the weekend

CRD to hold byelection for Area F

Conrad Turcotte who won the seat in the Oct. 20 election has been unable to take his oath of office due to illness

Fire forces family out of home two weeks before Christmas

A Williams Lake mother and her two teenagers fear they lost everything they own in a house fire

Watch out for legally set snares as trapping season unfolds

COS reminds recreational users Williams Lake is surrounded by several traplines

Cross country ski club ready to hit stride for upcoming season

The Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club is eaglerly anticipating the snow to fly

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read