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Civic Volunteer

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Recognizes those who excel at volunteering to make Vancouver a better place to live, work, and play. Nominees need to volunteer on a City board, agency, or committee, or with a group that receives support from the City.

2019 recipients

Shaheema Nalir

Individual youth category

Shaheema Nalir is a grade 11 student at Vancouver Technical Secondary School who has dedicated more than 1,000 volunteer hours over the past four years to the Kimount Boys and Girls Club, having a direct positive and empowering impact on hundreds of younger children. She's an activity leader, helping staff deliver social and recreational programs to elementary-aged children who participate in the club and day camps. She is excellent at building trusting relationships and is very popular among the children who are drawn to her leadership, kind ways, and encouragement.

As an immigrant from Sri Lanka seven years ago, Shaheema has embraced her new home and is dedicated to being a positive role model for younger members of the Boys and Girls Club. She is also one of a select group of youth to be chosen as a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada National Youth Committee, spearheading youth initiatives locally and on a national level. Shaheema rounds out her volunteer efforts as a member of her high school’s Me To We club, participating in fundraising to provide people in Kenya with access to clean water. 

Kyla Epstein

Individual category

From the time she was appointed by Vancouver City Council to the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) Board of Trustees in 2010, Kyla Epstein has been a champion of diversity and inclusion, promoter of accessibility, and a passionate and professional leader. Serving on the board until December 2018, including capably filling the role of Chair from 2016-2018, Kyla earned a reputation as a dedicated professional who welcomes dialogue, loves thinking about governance practices, and gives selflessly of her time and knowledge to ensure ongoing vibrancy and longevity of public libraries in the province.

As a trustee, Kyla was tireless in representing the library at countless events, conferences, and meetings; always with respect and a curious mind, ensuring that everyone was included and represented in order for the library and those associated with it to achieve their highest potential. During Kyla’s time as a trustee, the VPL was recognized as one of the world’s best libraries.

She chaired the board’s Community Relations, Planning and Development Committee for four years and served as a liaison to the Friends of the VPL Board and the VPL Foundation Board as well as a term on the board of the BC Library Trustees Association (BCLTA), doing great service to strengthening important relationships. Now, Kyla is one of five library trustee trainers in BC with the BCLTA and served as a co-chair of the 2019 BC Libraries Conference.

In 2019, Kyla was appointed to the City of Vancouver's Civic Asset Naming Committee and the board of the Vancouver Writers Festival.

Community Veterinary Outreach

Organization category

It's estimated that there are well over 500 pet owners experiencing homelessness in Vancouver, and the volunteer-run Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) program strives to improve the health and wellness of this community by providing free preventive health services to them and their companion animals. CVO partners with Paws for Hope, UBC Schools of Nursing and Pharmacy, and BC College of Dental Hygeinsits to offer One Health clinics four times a year. Volunteer health professionals provide veterinary care including: referrals to sterilization services, vaccinations, parasite medication, and veterinary-grade pet food. Care for the pet owners include mental health support, harm reduction services, and referrals to community health clinics.

With more than half of the attendees at the clinics reporting no connection to a primary health care provider, the volunteer health professionals with CVO offer incredible value in promoting healthier communities and improving public health with their services. As a registered charity, CVO provides vital support across Canada for marginalized community members and their pets – often with who they share the most meaningful relationship in their life - through an integrative model of care. It also provides opportunities for professional health care students to expand their skills, gain greater understanding and compassion for vulnerable communities, and support an important community-building effort.

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Agencies, boards, and committees

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