Kelly Lee Assinewe has devoted her life to helping Aboriginal youth get through high school by working to remove the social, emotional, and personal barriers to education. As N’Swakamok’s Alternative School’s Coordinator, Kelly Lee encourages young mothers to finish their education by allowing them to bring their children to class where childcare is available on certain days. They can also access prenatal and family support programs at the Friendship Centre. Additionally, she has been instrumental in helping teacher’s incorporate aboriginal content into their courses and provides valuable cultural activities for students. These include weekly student circle meetings, Native Career day, Native Awareness Day and Native Health days. Kelly Lee’s 18 years of work at N’Swakamok’s alternative school have driven its success where in addition to a counselor she has been described as a sister, mother, and role model.
Beyond N’Swakamok, Kelly Lee is one of the organizers of the Aboriginal Student’s Award Banquet, Aboriginal Youth Education day, and has assisted with the Aboriginal Role Model poster campaign. Her efforts in the education field have earned her the Laurentian University Native Education Person of Distinction Award in 2010 and the Guiding the Journey Indigenous Educator Award for Community Service from Indspire in 2013.
In addition to the amazing role that she plays in promoting education, she has also been active at Serpent River First Nation as a participant, trainer and coach for hockey and baseball teams. For many young women, Kelly Lee’s tireless efforts at work and in the community, while raising her own three children, are an inspiration of the balanced life to which they themselves can aspire. YWCA Sudbury is happy to pay homage to this remarkable Woman of Distinction.
Irene Costantini is a perfect example of what can happen when you pour energy and passion in everything you do. Moving to Canada from Italy at a young age, Irene spoke English for the first time in kindergarten. Her difficulties with the language created a shy child who later became determined to overcome shyness and help others do the same through the theatre arts. After graduating from Cambrian College with a diploma in Journalism, Irene moved to Italy where she got married and had two children in Rome. Her third child was born in Canada when Irene returned to Sudbury to raise her family. Irene joined the Caruso Club as a waitress but was later promoted to head chef. Irene became a force of energy and passion which benefitted her church, her children’s school plays, school councils, the Italian community’s cultural events and the Sudbury Theatre Centre.
It’s no surprise that when her son and his friends wanted to begin a youth theater company they sought Irene’s support. She immediately got on board and moved every obstacle out of the way to breathe life into these young people’s vision. She helped get funds by driving all over town with the youth knocking on doors to secure funding for their dream and even sat down with, then mayor, John Rodriguez to fund their first production. From its inception to the present, Irene has been involved with the YES (Youth Entertaining Sudbury) theatre company, lending her expertise in some aspects, learning as she goes in others. She is described as the driving force that makes the theatre company what it is: a successful theatre company that has helped many young people gain a variety of skills and experience that that they will value for life. Especially sensitive to the challenges young women face with self-confidence, Irene Costantini consistently strives to create a safe and respectful space within the company so that young women learn to respect and trust both themselves and each other. A dream-maker, mentor, role model, and tireless community volunteer – YWCA salutes this unsung community hero!
Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke has broken ground in increasing the level of care available to older adults in Northern Ontario. Originally from Lively, Jo-Anne studied at McMaster University and completed her medical training at the University of Western Ontario with specializations in internal medicine and geriatrics. Jo-Anne returned to the Sudbury region in 2009 as the first Medical Director of North East Specialized Geriatric Services. Jo-Anne has worked diligently to serve patients in the Sudbury region and also across Northeastern Ontario as the first geriatrician in this vast geographic area. Her dedication to serving older adult patients across the North East has led her to build a strong interdisciplinary team of 17 professionals in Sudbury and to travel regularly across Northern Ontario to serve patients in regions as remote as the James Bay coast. Jo-Anne is regarded as a fierce advocate for the needs of each individual patient as well as for improved access to services for older adults across Northern Ontario.
Jo-Anne is highly respected by her peers, and her excellence in her field has been recognized with a number of awards and distinctions, including the Northern Ontario School of Medicine Peer Educator Award. Jo-Anne has inspired and mentored countless students, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to strive for the highest quality care for older adults. She is a prolific public speaker and highly-regarded educator, opening doors for others to follow in her footsteps.
Family plays a big role in Jo-Anne’s life, and she works hard to balance the demands of her career with her roles as a daughter, granddaughter, sister, wife and mother. Jo-Anne is truly a Woman of Distinction in our community.
At the young age of 18, Mélanie-Rose Frappier is making things happen. In addition to holding the presidency of her student council and a spot on the honour roll, Mélanie-Rose has dedicated her time to volunteer organizations including the Aboriginal Advisory Education Committee, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the YMCA, the Métis Nation of Ontario, and the Terry Fox Committee. Selected as a Youth Ambassador of Canada by the United States Embassy in 2013, Mélanie-Rose spent three weeks on exchange in the United States before returning to Sudbury to make a difference in her community. Mélanie-Rose then went on to create It’s Cool to Be Healthy / C’est cool d’etre en santé and has delivered this interactive program on healthy lifestyles to several thousand participants in school and daycare presentations.
Mélanie-Rose’s dedication and commitment have been honoured with a number of awards, including the National Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award, the Gathering Our Voices National Aboriginal Youth Health Champion Award, the Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award.
Mélanie-Rose is proud of her Francophone and Métis heritage and is a regular participant in community events. She has encouraged and inspired other young people to join her in working for positive change. As a Young Aboriginal Métis and Francophone Leader at the 2014 We Day event for youth in Toronto, Mélanie–Rose addressed a group of 20,000 of her peers with a powerful message that we should all take to heart. “Start now, start today. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect because now is the time to make a positive impact on people’s lives.” We are proud to honour Mélanie-Rose with the 2014 Young Woman of Distinction Award.
Lynzy Boeswald-Lalande is a women’s advocate whose belief in serving her community has generated an impressive list of actions that focus on the importance of human compassion. As a Program Intervention Worker at Voices for Women Sudbury Sexual Assault Centre, Lynzy has drawn from her own experience as a survivor to help victims of sexual assault heal. She has introduced, lead and is now expanding the Amity Art project that helps women heal through art and in 2014 organized a public gallery in collaboration with Artists on Elgin. Furthermore, she is constantly seeking to create better support systems for sexual assault victims by creating links with women who have shared experiences and finding new community resources for them to use. Even now that she is on maternity leave she continues to help women at Voices for Women as a volunteer.
Lynzy’s education in Communications and Public Relations have made her very effective in creating educational talks and programs that aim to stop the stigma sexual assault victims often face when they come forward. For instance, during International Women’s Week she brought her “I Am Enough” program to four high schools that focused on teaching young women self-compassion, self-love and healthy relationships. She has also worked towards getting young men to understand their role in preventing violence against women by discussing healthy boundaries, consent and how to identify unhealthy relationships among peers.
In addition to the advocacy, educational and support work that Lynzy performs, she also volunteers with the Sudbury Coalition to End Violence Against Women, chaired the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres in 2014 and co-chaired the planning of Sudbury’s largest “Take Back the Night” walk in 15 years.
YWCA Sudbury is happy to commend the important and brave work that Lynzy does by awarding her the title of Woman of Distinction.
A talented and entrepreneurial systems design engineer, Christina Visser is highly respected in her male-dominated field and has worked to open doors for women in science, technology, engineering and math careers. Originally from Stratford, Ontario, Christina relocated to Northern Ontario and Sudbury in 1995 to embark on a career in mining engineering at INCO. In 2005, she joined Ionic Engineering as the manager of their consulting engineering team. During her time at Ionic, she grew the team from a small group to a team of over two dozen engineering professionals. This success then led to a spin-off engineering consulting business, Black Rock Engineering, of which Christina is a part owner. Her team comprises highly qualified engineers, designers and drafts people.
Christina has been dedicated to inspiring and mentoring women, girls and youth to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated fields. Christina is the founding president of the Sudbury chapter of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), a group dedicated to encouraging women and girls to pursue studies and careers in math, science and engineering. Christina’s involvement with WISE has now spanned 15 years. Since 2012, Christina has also volunteered her time as a team leader and coach for a team of robotics enthusiasts aged 9 to 14 in their participation in the FIRST Lego League, a robotics competition in which participants must program robots to solve a number of challenges. Her 2014 team placed first in the Sudbury regional competition and competed in provincials in Waterloo!
Christina also volunteers her time close to home, getting involved with school functions for her children Brendon and Annika. YWCA Sudbury is proud to honour Christina as a Woman of Distinction in our community.
Christina Visser est une ingénieure d’étude de systèmes entreprenante de talent, très respectée dans son domaine à majorité masculine, qui a ouvert la voie à bien des femmes pour qu’elles puissent faire carrière en sciences, en technologie, en génie et en mathématiques. Originaire de Stratford (Ontario), elle a déménagé à Sudbury, dans le Nord ontarien, en 1995, pour amorcer une carrière en génie minier chez INCO. En 2005, elle devenait directrice de l’équipe de génie-conseil d’Ionic Engineering. Durant ses années au sein de l’entreprise, elle a fait croître l’équipe, passant d’un petit groupe de gens à plus de deux douzaines d’ingénieures et d’ingénieurs. Sa réussite l’a menée à mettre sur pied sa propre entreprise de génie-conseil, Black Rock Engineering, dont elle est l’une des propriétaires. Son équipe compte des ingénieures et ingénieurs, des conceptrices et des concepteurs ainsi que des dessinatrices et des dessinateurs hautement qualifiés.
Christina se voue grandement à jouer un rôle d’inspiration et de mentorat auprès des femmes, des filles et des jeunes qui font carrière dans un domaine traditionnellement à majorité masculine. Elle est présidente fondatrice de la section sudburoise de Femmes en sciences et génie (FSG), un groupe qui encourage les femmes et les filles à poursuivre des études en mathématiques, en sciences et en génie. Christina y participe maintenant depuis 15 ans. Depuis 2012, elle est également bénévole à titre de chef d’équipe et d’accompagnatrice d’une équipe de passionnées et de passionnés de robotique (de 9 à 14 ans) membre de la FIRST LEGO LEAGUE, une compétition de robotique durant laquelle les participantes et participants doivent programmer des robots afin de résoudre divers défis. En 2014, son équipe a terminé première de la compétition régionale à Sudbury et elle a participé au volet provincial à Waterloo.
Christina est également bénévole dans son milieu en participant aux activités de l’école de ses enfants Brendon et Annika. La YWCA de Sudbury est fière de lui rendre hommage à titre de femme de mérite de notre collectivité.
For a combined 212 years, the Sudbury IODE Chapters of Elizabeth Fry, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Alexander Ramsay have been touching many lives. This volunteer-based group donates time to raising funds for countless organizations, projects and people within our community. To minimize overhead and administration costs, members use their own funds to make the work of the organization possible. Primarily through the IODE Tour of Homes, the Harvest Lunch and the Holly and Ivy House Tour, the IODE raises $40,000 a year which they return to the community.
Their donations have taken the shape of formal bursaries for students, recognition of the community service of noteworthy community members and assistance of community groups who work to improve the quality of life of some of our most vulnerable citizens. Some examples include: providing clothing and supplies for mothers, a piano for the Older Age Center, a freezer for the food bank, furnishings or supplies for a number of organizations in Sudbury, and even the park benches at Memorial Park.
Beyond disbursing funds, the IODE have been involved in a variety of projects. Notably, in 1976 after the Ministry of Health denied funding for a Genetic Outreach Clinic, IODE Ontario funded a pilot project that flew in Medical Geneticists so that people in the North could receive this service closer to home. This eventually became a multi-year commitment that was expanded to 4 other locations in the North.
Over the years, this women’s organization has provided a safe space for young women to become leaders who have gone on to lead in other forums. These women have gained self-confidence while learning the variety of skills required of volunteers involved in such an eclectic list of activities, leadership skills through officer and executive positions in the IODE, and access to mentorship and networks. Congratulations to the distinguished women of the IODE!