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P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada hands out Community Appreciation Awards

Julius Patkai, left, president of the PEIANC board of directors and Craig Mackie, second right, PEIANC executive director congratulate Community Appreciation Awards recipients Dianne Griffin, Donna Young and Bernie Plourde. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Julius Patkai, left, president of the PEIANC board of directors and Craig Mackie, second right, PEIANC executive director congratulate Community Appreciation Awards recipients Dianne Griffin, Donna Young and Bernie Plourde. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

STRATFORD, P.E.I. - Donna Young, despite retiring over five years ago, has a new full-time venture to keep her occupied: volunteering with newcomer families to help them thrive on P.E.I.

Donna has been working with immigrant and refugee Islanders for decades, and has done everything from spearheading inclusion programs to providing support for expecting mothers. Over 30 years of being a day care worker has made young an expert in providing care and compassion for those in need, which is something she does on a daily basis.

Many of the newcomers that she meets are through her church, Central Christian. Young and her church family have worked on multiple refugee reunification plans through private sponsorship. In one such case, Young and her church reunited a refugee living on P.E.I. with her husband and son, whom she had presumed dead, when she discovered they were still alive overseas. Seeing this family become whole again after believing it was hopeless was an incredible experience for Young and continued to fuel her resolve to help others.

Because of these accomplishments, among many others, she was chosen as the recipient for the Community Appreciation Award for Outstanding Individual presented by the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada.

The award ceremony was held at the association’s annual general meeting recently at the Stratford Town Hall.

In addition to individual achievement, awards were also given out in the categories of business and organization.

This year’s outstanding business award was presented to 3 Points Aviation and accepted by Dianne Griffin, human resources manager.

3 Points Aviation has consistently shown their commitment to hiring newcomers and supporting their continued education while on staff. “Dianne especially ensures that newcomers receive all the resources they need to succeed in the workplace, including referrals to language training and community inclusion activities,” a news release states.

The award for Outstanding Organization went to the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market for their nutritional coupon program. The program, conceived by manager Bernie Plourde who accepted the award on the organization’s behalf, provides $15 a week in coupons redeemable at the market for low-income newcomer families.

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