Amber Jadis received her degree in electrical engineering from Dalhousie in 2003 but wanted to do more to encourage women to get into the field. She started Bricks 4 Kidz in 2014 on P.E.I with that goal in mind.
The program teaches science, technology, engineering and math skills using Lego.
“There is a shortage of woman in engineering and some of the other areas of science and technology, computer science. I’ve always been quite passionate about getting girls interested,” Jadis said.
Her business not only has after school programs, it has camps, in-school workshops, robotics classes and even teaches coding. Bricks 4 Kidz has grown a lot over the past few years, but there have been bumps on the road, particularly Jadis’ health.
Earlier this year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It made me definitely want to make sure the time I have left I spend it with my kids, and they get off on the best foot they can get off on and leaving a mark in the broader community. So, making an impact,” she said.
Jadis was recognized for just that Wednesday night at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in front of Charlottetown’s business community. Bricks 4 Kids is the first recipient of the new People’s Choice Award for Community Impact at the 13th annual Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce President’s Excellence Awards.
She was surprised, smiling as she took the stage. Jadis had some heavy competition in the category, Trius Transit and the Charlottetown Islanders.
“I can’t believe we got more votes than hockey,” she said accepting the award.
Jadis’ company wasn’t the only organization recognized for their work with youth.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Prince Edward Island was presented with the Not-For-Profit Excellence Award. Myron Yates, executive director of the organization accepted the award, which is presented to an organization in the not-for-profit sector that has an established reputation for delivering a high level of programs, effective management and strong board governance.
“It was a complete surprise to us, but we are certainly honoured by it. A lot of the people here support us in one way or another, whether they have a bowling team, buy tickets at the cottage, or volunteer with kids. We have touched a lot of lives in the province the last couple of years,” Yates said.
Many longstanding Island organizations and businesses were honoured at the awards, but the ceremony didn’t shy away from new budding industries.
Advanced Extraction Systems Inc. (AESI) designs, engineers and fabricates manual and fully automated CO2 extraction systems for legal marijuana and hemp industries.
Al Goodwin is the production manager at AESI. He accepted the Emerging Business Award, given to a business operating up to five years and has demonstrated growth, innovation and leadership.
“It’s absolutely amazing, I have only been with the company since February. So, being asked to come and take this award for the company is very powerful. “
Goodwin thinks the cannabis industry is going to grow in Canada he said, but this is only the beginning with legalization only coming into effect Oct. 17.
“The world is watching Canada and it is a massive experiment, but it is going to pay off.”
Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce President's Excellence Awards Winners
Excellence in Business Award - Seafood Express (P.E.I.) Ltd.
Emerging Business Award - Advanced Extraction Systems
Workplace Excellence Award - Target Tours
Export Excellence Award - Navigate Food Safety Solutions
Excellence in Customer Service Award - The Great George
Not-For-Profit Excellence Award - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Prince Edward Island
People's Choice for Community Impact Award - Bricks 4 Kidz PEI
Volunteer Excellence Award - Blair Corkum
Entrepreneur of the Year Award - Dan MacIsaac