Stars of Alberta Recipients - 2016

Youth Category

Mr. Dallas Ansell - Edmonton

Dallas Ansell

Born and raised in Cold Lake and currently in his fourth year as a University of Alberta student, Dallas volunteers at numerous local organizations. One of his most significant commitments is as a youth leader with Young Life East where Dallas currently mentors fifteen Grade 11 boys. Dallas is also heavily involved with the Alberta Sports and Recreation Association for the Blind (ASRAB), supporting visually impaired athletes. Dallas is involved with goalball and blind hockey and has helped to coach one of the ASRAB’s athletes all the way to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

Dallas’ passion for assisting individuals with disabilities is not limited to sport. Dallas is also involved with the UAlberta’s Exercise is Medicine (EIM) group that promotes the importance of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. He was instrumental in bringing the EIM movement to the University of Alberta. An accomplished competitive hockey player in his earlier years, Dallas now shares his experience and love of hockey as a first year head coach of the Parkland Athletic Club Bantam AA Saints hockey team. Dallas has also made a significant impact through his involvement with the Steadward Centre, the Paralympic Sports Association, the Canadian Sledge Hockey Championships, the Edmonton Prospects Baseball Club and Camp Freedom.

Nominated by Mr. Steven Ainsley, Community Member

Ms. Poshika Dhingra - Red Deer

Poshika Dhingra

A former student at Lindsay Thurber High School in Red Deer and currently a first year University of Alberta (U of A) student, Poshika is committed to making her community a better place. At Lindsay Thurber High School Poshika helped guide leadership students in planning events that allowed the school to give back to the community. She also organized a school-wide clothing drive to help provide winter clothing for Syrian refugees, as well as fundraisers for United Way and Cystic Fibrosis. Poshika used her acting talents as a lead member in the cast of Bud Ugly, a program that travels to middle schools in Central Alberta giving performances with an anti-tobacco message.

Poshika currently volunteers her time at the City of Red Deer’s Greater Downtown Committee where she helps make decisions about the future development of downtown Red Deer. Poshika promotes the spirit of feminism and gender equality as the Executive Member of the Youth Panel of the Indo Canadian Women’s Association. Poshika is also the spokesperson for the RCMP National Youth Advisory Committee, where she voices her opinion about issues affecting youth. Now, as a U of A student, she is involved in Science FUNdamentals, promoting science to elementary school children and volunteers at VIDA, a university organization that helps provide better healthcare for the citizens in impoverished countries.

Nominated by Mr. Dan Lower, Lindsay Thurber High School

Adult Category

Ms. Danisha Bhaloo - Edmonton

Danisha Bhaloo

Danisha works tirelessly to advocate for vulnerable youth and mentors them to have a positive influence on their community. Danisha volunteered with the Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP), a youth justice committee mandated to work with young people who have caused harm while being affected by a variety of significant social issues. Danisha chaired over 50 case conferences for young offenders, appeared in court on behalf of over 100 young offenders, and eventually became president of the YRAP.

Danisha founded the Aga Khan Council for Edmonton’s Youth Empowerment Strategy program. As a Board Chairperson for the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board of Edmonton, she piloted a program to support youth at risk within the Ismaili community. This program taught youth the importance of volunteering, the value of education and the importance of respecting family, peers and community. Currently, Danisha is a national member of the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board of Canada, an organization that works towards improving the quality of life of youth, through youth development programs and sports promotional activities. Danisha also serves as Vice-Chair of the Edmonton John Howard Society, a trustee on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada Foundation and a Board Member of the Edmonton Opera.

Nominated by Sal Karmali, Community Member

Mr. Paul Finkleman - Calgary

Paul Finkleman

Paul’s zeal for selflessly helping others is what makes him a vibrant star in his community. He illustrates compassion for the poor through the Feeding the Homeless program and provides assistance to homeless children and their families at the Inn from the Cold. In conjunction with the Social Justice Committee at Temple B’nai Tikvah, Paul has led a crew of 25-30 volunteers preparing and serving lunch to the homeless and at risk clientele at the Calgary Rehabilitation and Drop-in Centre. He demonstrates an understanding of human dignity and the healing spirit of music through his monthly musical visits at the Chinook Hospice. His musical talents lift the spirits of the hospice residents and their family.

Paul has been an admirable example of environmental stewardship through his involvement with Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society. This group is dedicated to protecting the bio-diversity and ecological integrity of Calgary’s Weaselhead Natural Park. Paul has also involved thousands of people of all ages to participate in Park Clean-ups and raising environmental awareness in the community. As a Vice President at the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta, Paul has taken an active role in preserving the ancestral heritage of the Jewish people in Southern Alberta.

Nominated by Miss Anam Kazim, MLA Calgary-Glenmore

Senior Category

Mr. Harry Bartlett - Slave Lake

Harry Bartlett

Harry’s nomination recognizes a life-time of volunteer work in the community of Slave Lake. Through the years, Harry has been instrumental in planning and fundraising for many community projects, including a new town library, fire rescue unit, multi recreation children’s play area, outdoor skating rink, walking trails and countless others. His current focus has been on fundraising through the Rotary Club of Slave Lake for the Slave Lake Legacy Centre. Built as a legacy of the 2011 Slave Lake Wildfires, this Centre is a home to Performing Arts Theatre, Daycare and Community Hall for the Town of Slave Lake.

One of Harry’s recent accomplishments was negotiating construction of a playground in the community of Widewater. Harry is heavily involved with community baseball and hockey leagues and holds the title of Tournament Director with the Alberta Provincial Baseball Association. One of Harry’s key accomplishments was organizing the Community Donations Committee following the Slave Lake Wildfires of 2011. He also organized a committee of local residents to choose worthwhile projects and groups to distribute the donated funds to. The end result was exceptional, with the funds being used for a wide variety of community-based projects to aid the recovery. This model is now being used as a template for donated funds channeled through the District Rotary Foundation for Fort McMurray.

Nominated by Mr. Brian Vance, Town of Slave Lake

Mrs. Barbara Burgemeister - Hanna

Barbara Burgemeister

Barbara is a compassionate, dedicated and outstanding leader and mentor who remains committed to making her community a better place for the future. Barbara has performed thousands of hours volunteering to assist service clubs, citizens and organizations in the Hanna area. Currently, Barbara serves as the President of the Hanna Food Bank Association, which is 100 percent volunteer-run. She organizes operations, recruits and trains volunteers and ensures that no family leaves the Food Bank without food and basic necessities.

From families fleeing domestic violence to seniors on fixed income, Barbara has helped them all. Barbara is one of the organizing members of the Hanna Community Garden, growing produce for the Food Bank. The students at the Hanna Primary School enjoy helping Barbara in the garden and learn about planting, gardening and healthy eating. An avid supporter of the Centre Street Thrift Store, Barbara assists with store’s operations. For over 30 years, she has also been instrumental in helping the Hand Hills Community Club with their annual stampede. Annual local events always count on support from Barbara. Her baking is at bake sales, her hands have helped at most community suppers and her smiling face is seen at fundraising barbeques.

Nominated by Mr. Gerald Campion, Town of Hanna

Last reviewed/revised: December 8, 2016
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