Individual youth category
Allie Janowicz is a young person who inspires hope for a better world through all that she does to support youth and those with exceptional needs, promote community service, and create environmental awareness.
As a peer counsellor at Magee Secondary School, Allie helps grade 8 and 9 students as they adjust to life at high school; providing an experienced and supportive ear for issues and worries these students may not always feel comfortable discussing with an adult. She organizes activities, bringing students together to create understanding and facilitates connections that will sustain them through high school and beyond.
Allie has been involved with Girl Guides for over ten years and volunteers during the summer as a counsellor at Camp Potlatch, a wilderness camp that provides kids with an opportunity to experience and appreciate nature, learn new skills, and make new friendships. The maturity she demonstrates and supportive environment she creates for her campers makes a huge difference in their lives.
In addition, Allie is a volunteer assistant coach for the Burnaby Special Olympics Swim Team providing a positive and encouraging space for these athletes who are often marginalized in our society.
Allie is also an ardent advocate for the environment, servings as co-chair of her high school’s Environment Club. She feels a strong responsibility to create awareness and encourage respect for the environment in order to create a more sustainable and cleaner planet.
As arbiter of Student Issues at Vancouver Community College (VCC) (a role akin to an ombudsperson), Tanny Marks has spent the past eight years as an incomparable advocate for fairness and representation, equity, and justice for all members of the college community at all three campuses. She is superb at bringing together diverse groups and individuals to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to continually move the college community forward in terms of individual conflict resolution to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all.
Tanny holds a law degree, lives with a physical disability, has extensive experience with dispute resolution and accessibility issues, and is incredibly personable and approachable. She uses her background and skills, along with her tenacity, patience, sense of humour, and outstanding communication abilities to inform many of the initiatives she's developed at VCC to find new opportunities for students with disabilities and barriers to learning.
She's led the charge in creating an education environment that empowers students to experience their learning in more accessible and equitable ways. One example is the multitude of workshops she's created and delivered across the college focused on inclusive and accessible practices, including a ground-breaking seminar on ‘Duty to Accommodate Students with Disabilities’.
All Bodies Dance Project
Founded in 2014, the All Bodies Dance Project is dedicated to making dance accessible to all by bringing together artists with and without disabilities to explore movement as a means of creative expression. It aims to break down barriers in order to create opportunities for dancers of all abilities to practice, create, and perform contemporary dance.
Over the past five years, more than 500 participants have engaged in community dance classes, workshops, and performances. Through a partnership with the Vancouver Park Board, along with Trout Lake, Sunset, and Roundhouse community centres, All Bodies Dance Project has been able to offer free, inclusive dance classes open to adults of all ages, abilities, genders, and backgrounds.
To date All Bodies has self-produced five full-length productions to sold-out audiences and performed widely at several festivals and on many stages, reaching over 5,000 audience members.
The board of directors is made up of over 50% people who self-identify as having a disability, while the company is guided by an advisory committee led by participants in the project to ensure accountability. They go to great lengths to ensure their programs are as accessible and inclusive as possible by offering American Sign Language interpretation for classes and performances, ensuring barrier-free dance spaces and washrooms, using gender neutral language, and providing scent-reduced environments.
All Bodies Dance Project is guided by the notion that differences are creative strengths. The company creates dances that explore and celebrate the unique possibilities of different bodies, communities, and mobility devices moving together.