Stars of Alberta Recipients - 2017

Youth Category

Miss Tina Guo - Calgary

Tina Guo

Tina has dedicated her efforts to advocating for marginalized populations, including those who have experienced domestic abuse, mental illness, and homelessness. In her first year of university, Tina became the Senior Director of Events for the University of Calgary's newly founded Mental Health Awareness Club and was instrumental in promoting mental health and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. Tina also spearheaded the Break the Silence Initiative, a program at the university that advocates for mental health awareness. Tina is the founder and Executive Director of the Students Against Domestic Abuse Association of the University of Calgary, where she leads an executive team to organize events to raise awareness for domestic abuse and violence and to empower and support survivors. Since beginning medical school, Tina has served as the Vice-President Finance in the Student Run Clinic, a clinic that allows medical students to serve as clinicians attending to various local marginalized populations, including homeless families at the Inn from the Cold shelter, the Alex Centre mobile bus, and a local refugee clinic. Tina has assisted a local grassroots nonprofit organization, Youth Can Fish 2 Society, in developing a sponsorship package to attract donors and sponsors for summer camps provided to low-income youth to educate them about environmental conservation, Indigenous culture, Canadian history, and camping skills.

Nominated by Dr. Jessica Cohen, Scholars Academy Program, University of Calgary

Miss Imogen Pohl - Lethbridge

Imogen Pohl

Imogen is a selfless young woman who devotes countless hours of her time towards her true passion - the Girl Guides of Canada (Girl Guides) movement. She joined Girl Guides at the age of four. Girl Guides is where Imogen’s volunteerism began at the age of nine, when she became a Girl Assistant for Sparks (girls aged five to six). From there on, she earned every top award available through the organization. But Imogen’s volunteerism really began to shine with Rangers (ages 15 to 17). Over the years, leading many different Girl Guides groups, Imogen has inspired citizenship, bravery, and leadership skills in hundreds of youth in her community. Recently, Imogen opened up a new Scouts Canada Rover Crew at the University of Lethbridge. She will be the youngest Group Commissioner in Lethbridge. Imogen is also heavily involved with the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta. She is extremely passionate about getting the word out about the early warning signs of schizophrenia. A Neuroscience/Psychology student at the University of Lethbridge, Imogen hopes to become a clinical psychologist specializing in schizophrenia and change the lives of every single Canadian who lives with schizophrenia. Currently, she is a strong advocate for those affected by schizophrenia and helps bust the myths and stigma surrounding it, as well as raises awareness of the illness in her community.

Nominated by Mrs. Nicole Anton, Girl Guides of Canada

Adult Category

Mr. Fadhl Abu-Ghanem - Edmonton

Fadhl Abu-Ghanem

Fadhl’s greatest strength has always been his genuine love for building communities and his ability to use personal experiences to connect with and inspire youth. Fadhl’s journey as a volunteer in Edmonton started with the Boys & Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area (BGCBigs). He volunteered at the Syrian program serving refugee children and played a major role in this program, as he was able to use his Arabic linguistic abilities to connect with the youth and create a welcoming environment for them. After the Syrian program ended, Fadhl transitioned to Spruce Avenue Junior High School where he was part of the All In For Youth initiative as a BGCBigs volunteer. This initiative is based on Resiliency Theory and Trauma Sensitive practice. Fadhl also took on the role of planning and coordinating the boys program at Spruce Avenue School, as well as developing and facilitating his own presentations on substance abuse, bullying, and other safety concerns for the youth at the Africa Centre. Additionally, Fadhl created fun programs and activities for the youth, and coordinated field trips to broaden their experiences and connect them to their community. Fadhl was invited to sit on BGCBigs’ Diversity Engagement committee as an advisor on engaging volunteers from diverse skill sets and ethno-cultural backgrounds. He started to volunteer at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers in the Empowered Communities department to work on capacity building of ethno-cultural organizations and developing youth programming targeting young adult refugees aged 17 to 30.

Nominated by Ms. Fatmeh Kalouti, Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

Mrs. Alanna Pettigrew - Banff

Alanna Pettigrew

Alanna is a tireless volunteer who demonstrates how kindness and community support can drive social change. She has volunteered across many diverse interests including: Banff Food Bank, Banff Food Rescue, Banff Light Horse Association, and advocacy for adults with disabilities. In September 2016, Alanna started an awareness campaign for the Banff Food Bank that was struggling to meet increasing demands and was able to raise $25,000 for the organization in just a short period of time. During this campaign, Alanna became aware of food waste in the food distribution chain, which sparked an idea to work with local grocery stores and other food suppliers to “rescue” any food that would otherwise be headed for the dumpster. Alanna set up Banff Food Rescue, literally, overnight. In addition to sourcing, collecting, and sorting this rescue food, Alanna was offering a daily pick up service from the basement of her home. Last year, she volunteered 3,200 hours in food rescue alone. The results of Alanna’s vision speak for themselves: not only is the food redistributed to people in need, it also helps to support various local programs such as: Parentlink, Community Lunch, the Food Bank, Hope for Kids, and many community fundraisers. Alanna’s actions have inspired the creation of the Canmore Food Recovery Barn. Alanna dedicated many of hours helping this program plan, set up, and establish its own successful operation. Alanna is also a founding member of the newly established Bow Valley Food Alliance - advocating for sustainable food systems and healthy, accessible, and affordable food for all.

Nominated by Ms. Jill Harrison, FCSS CD/Town of Banff

Senior Category

Ms. Suzanne de Courville Nicol - Calgary

Suzanne de Courville Nicol

Suzanne is a respected Francophone community leader who has volunteered in the public relations, communications, and community development sectors for the past 50 years. A trailblazer, Suzanne is the founder and president of the Bureau de visibilité de Calgary (BVC) that aims to showcase Calgary’s Francophone history, heritage, and accomplishments. Suzanne is also the creator/producer of Hello-Bonjour Alberta, an unparalleled bilingual community partnership initiative that has recently recorded its 150th episode. Suzanne is the founder and president of the Société pour le patrimoine francophone de Calgary/Society for the Francophone Heritage of Calgary (SPFC SFHC). Under her leadership and in consultation with local and provincial community associations and leaders, the BVC, and SPFC-SFHC, very proudly designed and produced the Ceinture fléchée patrimoniale franco albertaine/Franco-Albertan Heritage Sash to increase visibility for Franco Albertans and to foster community outreach and inter-cultural dialogue in order to achieve a greater understanding of Franco-Albertan History and Heritage. Suzanne’s tireless efforts towards education and her leadership in support of others in their efforts has resulted in the new Politique en Matière de Francophonie/French Policy announced on June 14, 2017. Suzanne is a proud recipient of the Association canadienne francaise de l’Alberta “Ordre des Sages” awarded to Francophone Seniors in Alberta for their outstanding contribution to benefit the growth and development of Alberta’s Francophonie.

Nominated by Ms. Terry Ager, Community Member

Mrs. Naznin Hasham - Edmonton

Naznin Hasham

Naznin’s ability to lead, inspire, and make a difference is extraordinary. She has held leadership roles on all Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) campaigns and events in Alberta over the past 20 years. AKFC is a nonprofit international development agency, working in Asia and Africa to find sustainable solutions to the complex problems causing global poverty. Currently, Naznin is serving as the National Fundraising Director on the Steering Committee of the World Partnership Walk, and as the Human Resources Lead for the World Partnership Golf. World Partnership Walk and the World Partnership Golf are AKFC’s annual volunteer-run, signature fundraising campaigns and initiatives. Thus far, the 2017 World Partnership Walk campaign has raised more than $6.3 million dollars and World Partnership Golf has raised over $500,000. In addition, Naznin volunteers as the Vice-Chair of External Relations for the Edmonton Ismaili Community, with both the Stollery Children Foundation and the Alberta Cancer Foundation assisting with their fundraising activities. As the Vice-Chair of External Relations for the Edmonton Ismaili Community, Naznin ensures that members of the Edmonton Ismaili community are involved in larger community wide volunteer initiatives. There are many events throughout the year, but the flagship event is the Canada Day Breakfast, serving over 10,000 people. This year, Naznin is a steering committee member for the Ismaili Civic 150 - Edmonton initiative with a goal for the Ismaili community to donate $1 million hours of volunteer time across Canada.

Nominated by Mr. Shakeel Bharmal, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Last reviewed/revised: December 12, 2017
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