People who know Brenda describe her as “one of those quiet movers and shakers”. Her volunteer work extends far beyond her role as a member of the music faculty at Cambrian College. Her dedicated association with the Sudbury Symphony, the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, the Northern Ontario Honour Festival Concert Band, and the Nickel City Pipe Band has added immeasurably to the success of each of these groups. Her role as volunteer principal clarinetist with the Sudbury Symphony for the past 30 years not only earned her three Community Volunteer Awards from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, but also the role of Rehearsal Conductor (2003-2009), which is still a very rare accomplishment for women. She takes a personal interest in the well-being of her students by providing breakfast, knowing that many of them are struggling financially. Many of her young female students attribute their success to Brenda’s encouragement and mentoring to help them become strong, independent women. Brenda is a cheerleader of other people’s successes. Highly talented in many areas, she will nevertheless withdraw and ensure that everyone else shines. An integral part of the cultural fabric of Sudbury, Brenda Arrowsmith has enriched the lives of so many through her generosity of talent and spirit.
When tragedy strikes many withdraw into their grief, but not Laura-Jean Byers. After the unexpected death of their adopted daughter in 2010 Laura-Jean embarked on an astounding task, organizing a Mardi Gras to raise $38,000 to benefit orphans and underprivileged children in China. The Children’s Butterfly Hospice is a non-profit organization that gives palliative care to orphans but due to the financial support they received from Laura-Jean’s fundraising efforts, they have actually saved the lives of 64% of the children at the hospice!
She is also a strong supporter of the Smile China Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to cleft lip and palate corrective surgery. In both her professional life as an emergency room nurse and her volunteer life, Laura-Jean is constantly mentoring, supporting and encouraging others to take on leadership roles. Other adoptive parents have benefited immensely from her generous mentorship as they navigated their journey of international adoption. Laura-Jean began her volunteerism as a teenager and more recently turned a personal tragedy into an extraordinary vehicle to help others. Her family, friends and colleagues describe her as someone who will inspire you to be a better person and motivate you to join in and get going!
When asked why she spends so many hours volunteering, Linda replies that it is fun and that she finds purpose in helping others. She served on the Victim Crisis Assistance Referral Services Board of Directors, ensuring that help is available when individuals are at their most vulnerable and continues to participate on the Policy Committee. She has been involved with Toastmasters for several years and has begun a lunch time group, recognizing that most women have difficulty with evening meetings.
Linda has acted as a Canada World Youth host and a relief foster care home for babies through the Children’s Aid Society. Her willingness to provide shelter even extends to pets, when the need arises. Linda`s passion for helping others includes serving on the City of Greater Sudbury’s Civic Awards committee to increase volunteerism in the area. Linda creates opportunities for women and leads by example through her role as Community Initiatives Manager with the United Way. The network of programs that she has created supports the non-profit sector that employs primarily women, and enhances their ability to provide quality programs to those who access their services, the majority of whom are women. Through her work Linda has created programs that support women and has made the community a better place by her example.
As a mother Mary was always actively involved in her children’s school, serving as President of the Board of the Montessori School, and an active fundraiser and organizer for all their activities. She was also a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society and a very active member of the IODE, helping that organization raise funds through their Tour of Homes in order to support numerous non-profit organizations in our region. Through her work as a Dale Carnegie instructor she helped many women conquer their fear of public speaking, helping them become leaders within the community.
When Mary was challenged with the physical effects of dystonia she met with a small group of others affected by this condition and became the support group leader for Sudbury and area. She also organizes the annual Freedom to Move and Wheel for Dystonia 5km walk. When she took over organizing this event 11 years ago it was raising a modest $6000 each year. Under her direction it has grown, raising $16,000 last year. Mary has received acknowledgement from Dystonia Canada for her small group’s ability to raise more money than larger groups in big cities. A mother and grandmother who leads by example, Mary demonstrates every day that challenges can become opportunities!
Madeleine is probably best known as a staunch advocate for the rights and needs of those who require palliative care, not only in her role as Client Services Coordinator for Warmhearts Palliative Caregivers but also as a Warmhearts volunteer. From securing donations of food and gifts to ensure that a family can spend one last happy Christmas together, to providing direct support in grief recovery, Madeleine is there in the time of greatest need. Madeleine is also the volunteer Area Governor for Toastmasters in Greater Sudbury and has mentored many women to help them find their voice. She is also a long-time volunteer with the Canadian Diabetes Association, making numerous presentations and advocating for making the best possible medical support affordable for all. She also served on the Education Committee of the Alzheimer’s Society and organized their annual Awareness Dinner and Walk for Memories. Her many contributions to the Canadian Red Cross include volunteering for Disaster Services. Madeline also served as the Vice-Chair of the Elder Abuse Committee and worked with other community agencies to raise awareness about this issue. As a member of the Harley Owners Group Madeleine was instrumental in starting the Ride to Remember for Palliative Care and coordinated many activities specifically for women who ride motorcycles. In all her activities Madeleine mentors and inspires others to give support wherever it is needed.
From the time she was 12 years old and chosen to attend the Ontario Leadership Camp it was clear that Jacqueline would make her mark on the world. By age 15 she was already fundraising for a trip to Kenya with the Free the Children Foundation. The following year she accompanied her mother back to Kenya to work at an orphanage and that is when she came to the realization that she had to open an orphanage of her own. She began fundraising and by age 17 was able to purchase the land in Kenya to make her dream come true.
In March 2012 the ground breaking ceremony was held to begin building the Zawadi La Tumaini (Gift of Hope) Children’s Home. She will develop programs for sustainable living, health education, and literacy. She is currently planning a sanitary pads program so the girls will no longer be forced to take a week off school due to the lack of this basic necessity. Jacqueline is an award winning public speaker, organizer of “Cops for Kids”, Jane Goodall’s Roots ‘n Shoots workshop presenter, organizer of “Change for Change” and winner of the “Me to We” award. Truly an inspirational young woman who is changing our world!
The Angels in Pink is a group of passionate, dedicated and determined women who have been fundraising and educating Sudburians about the importance of having a breast coil attachment to the MRI here in Sudbury. Initiated by Annette Cressy, who was forced to travel to Timmins for her MRI, the Angels in Pink have raised over $165,000 through the sale of cupcakes, the Pink Glove Party, the Pink Hair Affair, Pink your Ride, etc. with every dollar being donated to the cause.
Due to their dedication generations of women in all of Northeastern Ontario will now have access to this important diagnostic tool. They have selflessly given their time, their energy and their knowledge to others in order to protect and enhance women’s health care rights. Within three years of focused volunteer efforts, the six women who are Angels in Pink have educated the public on the necessity of the MRI diagnostic tool and have raised the necessary funds to make it happen. Thank you, and congratulations to Annette Cressy, Jane Tessier, Lorraine Baldisera, Sue Chartrand, Bev Briscoe, and Angela Corsi-Raso.