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Community Builders of the Year 2021

Community Builder of the Year Award Recipients

Dr. Warren Clarke

Dr. Etches was one of the early supporters of United Way’s All That Kids Can Be focus area, lending her expertise to the Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative since its creation ten years ago. She has helped to support children in Ottawa by raising the profile of opportunities and interventions to prevent and address health inequities faced by local children and youth. She advocated for solutions to challenges that women and children faced more often in the pandemic response.  She is also a strong champion of mental health and mitigating the risks of substance misuse. Through the pandemic, she has been consistently present for important community discussions. Learn more about Dr. Vera Etches.

Dr. Paula Stewart and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Dr. Paula Stewart is the Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. Dr. Paula Stewart has supported United Way’s work in Lanark County as a speaker with the Lanark Successful Aging Seniors Council, where she supported the importance of addressing social isolation among seniors and the urgency for this work in a rural context. In addition, she was a passionate supporter of the founding of the Planet Youth Lanark project, designed to address substance use and mental health challenges faced by youth, while improving their overall health and social outcomes. During COVID-19, Dr. Stewart became a weekly guest on the Wednesday lunch-time program InFocus on Lake 88.1 Radio to provide accurate local information, particularly to residents less likely to use social media. Learn more about Dr. Paula Stewart. 

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis and Eastern Ontario Health Unit

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis (AKA Dr.Paul )is Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit since 2007 and a member of United Way’s Board of Directors since 2017. He worked to raise awareness of the impacts of toxic stress on infants and children—work that has become one of the cornerstones of United Way East Ontario’s School Readiness strategic priority goal. As an advocate for early childhood development, he emphasized the importance of creating a nurturing environment to create better health outcomes for kids and their families. During the pandemic he leads the local COVID response and sits on multiple provincial tables and appears regularly on local and national media.  Learn more about Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. 

Dr. Robert Cushman and Renfrew County and District Health Unit

Dr. Robert Cushman came out of retirement in May 2017 to serve as the acting Medical Officer of Health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit. Little did he know what he was getting into when the pandemic arrived. Dr. Cushman’s vision to support children at an early age by building lifelong skills and resiliency, led to work combating addictions in youth with harm reduction strategies and the eventual formation of the United Way-led project step.  Dr. Cushman’s work throughout the pandemic has focused on ensuring services are readily accessible to the most vulnerable. Equally he has called attention to the pandemic’s enormous collateral damage to schooling and community mental health, and the need to rebuild services with this top of mind. By building networks of community service providers, Dr. Cushman has fostered a collaborative cross sectoral partnership in Renfrew County and District to fight the pandemic. Learn more about Dr. Robert Cushman.

Program Recipients


Apt613- the hyperlocal blog has shone a light on music shows, the best weekend happenings, and community builders, while offering a platform for innovative organizations to spread their message. Apt613 connects people to their neighbourhoods and cultivates a place where people can learn and talk about exciting people, places, and goings-on.

Learn more about Apt613 and their impact.

Davy Sabourin

Davy Sabourin has been an integral part of Ottawa’s 2SLGBTQ+ community involvement and growth since 2017. As a human rights advocate focusing on 2SLGBTQ+ issues, anti-racism, and mental health, Davy has acted as an educator, connector and bridge-builder for various communities in our region and beyond. Most recently, Davy served as the Chairperson of Capital Pride until November 2020. Davy’s close relationship with Capital Pride dates back to 2017, when he served as the Community Relations Officer, actively working to engage the National Capital Region’s 2SLGBTQ+ community and allies. His passion for volunteering and community building is immensely noticeable in his work. Davy served as the Regional Director for Canada on InterPride’s Board of Directors, representing Canadian Pride organizations on an international level. Most recently, Davy was appointed to the Monument Advisory Committee for Canada’s LGBTQ2+ National Monument under the initiative of the LGBT Purge Fund, as well as Governor with the Émergence Foundation.  

Davy’s mission for a safe, inclusive community has helped create opportunities to celebrate, advocate, educate and connect people, respecting the full diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Learn more about Davy.  

Charity Bartlett

Charity Bartlett’s commitment and drive for a more connected community is evident from her time with the Carlington Community Association (CCA), a volunteer-run, not-for-profit dedicated to building a greener, safer, and better Carlington for all residents. For the last three years Charity has served as the association’s president and was an active member for several years prior. During her tenure as President, the Carlington Community Association has seen a dramatic period of growth as Charity worked hard to promote advocacy, connectivity, and education of community services and programs. Under her leadership, the CCA secured vital grants and sponsorships allowing more accessible and inclusive community-driven events. As president of the CCA Charity made it her mission to bridge the divide between the Carlington Alexander and Caldwell communities. She has consistently sought ways to include residents from Caldwell in CCA activities, and has worked with partners to host events in Caldwell, building trust and a sense of community for all.

Learn more about Charity

Isobel Boyd

Isobel is a youth and women’s empowerment advocate and leader, dedicating over 500 volunteer hours a year since 2014 to improving the lives and community of those around her. She began her philanthropic journey with YOUth Heroes, a youth-led organization that provided mentorship and resources in collaboration with YouthREX, a research and evaluation hub, to form an afternoon school program for at-risk youth. The NOISE: Superhero School program focused on instilling the importance of philanthropy and education to inspire, guide, and mentor youth to bring social change to their communities. Building upon her experience in grassroots mobilization and passion for social advocacy, in 2019 Isobel joined The Empow(Her) Network, a non-profit organization that helps young women in Ottawa excel in their professional, personal, and civic lives through peer-to-peer mentorship, networking opportunities, and skills-building workshops. Isobel’s dedication to empowerment and mentorship is displayed through the countless hours she has committed to building an inspiring, supportive community.

Learn more about Isobel

Blanche Mirault

Blanche Mirault has worked tirelessly for the better part of a decade ensuring that everyone in her community has a place that they can come home to. Blanche operates “Got You In Mind”, a community-orientated thrift store located in Pembroke. Community driven to its core, the thrift store operates on donations without assistance from provincial or federal grants. Since it’s opening, the store has served as a symbol of generosity in Renfrew County, with gently used clothing and household items given a new home to those in need. Proceeds collected from sales are used by Blanche to create small wellness kits containing vital necessities like toiletries for community members in need. Determined, Blanche created the free coat initiative. Donations of coats, hats and mitts are placed on a rack placed outside the store for anyone who needs them. Her kind gesture has provided over 200 individuals an opportunity to stay warm and connected with their community.

Learn more about Blanche

Avery & Rowan Parkinson

Avery (16) and Rowan (13) are uniquely passionate in their aim to spread a sense of responsibility and community amongst their peers. Together they cofounded the Maple Wishes Foundation, a local outlet that raises awareness and fundraises for eleven service projects across our region. In 2015, after witnessing the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease on their grandfather, Avery and Rowan began raising awareness at their school. Every year since, they have continued to raise awareness by crafting and distributing thousands of handmade tokens, each bearing a butterfly—a symbol of hope. THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT has expanded to include community awareness and fundraising campaigns in support of the Parkinson’s Research Consortium (Ottawa) and has to date successfully raised over $60,000.  

In 2016, prompted by the reality of the homelessness crisis and challenges around food security in Ottawa, Avery and Rowan became regular suppliers of homemade meals to various community centres and homeless shelters. On a weekly basis, Avery and Rowan organize a sandwich making session for one of the local shelters. To date, the A SANDWICH OR TWO initiative has provided over 20,000 meals to our community in four years.

Learn more about Avery & Rowan.

Kara Eusebio

In January 2017, Kara founded Cornerstone Housing for Women’s Young Professionals Advisory Board (YPAB)—the first board of its kind in Ottawa focused on empowering young professionals to advocate for inclusive housing policies and support the 500 women served by Cornerstone each year.  

Working with both the Children’s Bridge Adoption Agency and Adoption Council of Canada, Kara also served as a Coordinator for the Connect-a-Kid Adoptee Mentorship Program, providing mentorship and guidance to adopted children aged 6-12, for over 2 years. Here, Kara developed tactics with both parents and kids for children experiencing racism, those who identify as transgender or non-binary, and those living with mental health challenges.Through the Ottawa Global Shapers, she developed and co-leads the Discovery Crew Project since March 2019, bringing together young professionals and young people with intellectual disabilities to form networks and friendships while fully participating as active citizens.

Learn more about Kara.  

Raynold Alorse

Dr. Raynold Alorse is a natural leader with the ability to inspire and mobilize others for positive change. He has been working together with diverse community groups as a volunteer and a Board Director for non-profit boards serving vulnerable populations for several years now. Raynold’s dedication to community service and the idea of public service is truly inspiring. Utilizing his Ph.D. expertise in international relations, sustainability, corporate social responsibility and human rights, Raynold is a 2021 Climate Ambassador of the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN), an initiative of the World Bank Group Youth Community which acts as a catalyst for young leaders across the world to develop and implement initiatives to raise awareness about climate change mitigation.   

Raynold has also been serving on the Board of Nepean, Rideau, and Osgoode Community Resource Centre (NROCRC) since 2016. In September 2020, Raynold took on the role of President at NRO-CRC and contributes to decision-making by providing strategic oversight and supporting initiatives to positively impact the overall health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

Learn more about Raynold.  

Kim Hyslop

Kim Hyslop is a criminal lawyer who demonstrates an outstanding commitment of service to Ottawa and her community at large. In late 2015, Kim became a founding director of Barristers for a Better Bytown, a charity focused on raising funds to support charitable causes in the Ottawa area with projects and initiatives that help at-risk children and youth, people experiencing homelessness, and other vulnerable groups within our community. In late 2019, Kim held a Holiday Food Drive, which invited local law firms, judges, and support staff to compete against each other to see who could raise the most amount of food for local food banks. While Kim had only expected to support five local food centers in the area, the food drive was far more successful than expected, and Kim and her fellow lawyers delivered donations of over seven tonnes of non-perishable food, as well as warm clothing like toques and socks, to seven local centers and the Ottawa Food Bank.  

In the past 5 years, Kim and her team of legal professionals have raised over $53,000 for local charities. Kim has spent hundreds of hours organizing local events and volunteering opportunities for groups the Snowsuit Fund, the Shepherds of Good HopeParkdale Food Centre, and Habitat for Humanity.

Learn more about Kim

Pearly Pouponneau

Pearly Pouponneau is constantly doing work in her community and producing content to uplift and highlight marginalized groups—whether it be for people of colour, the Indigenous community, the 2SLGBTQ+ community, or an intersection of all three. Being a Queer woman of colour from a marginalized community herself, Pearly identifies gaps and assess needs on a community level. According to her nominator, Pearly’s biggest accomplishment has been organically creating Colours of Mama—a safe and inclusive community for mama’s of colour to be seen, heard, and celebrated—which Pearly founded after she noticed the lack of inclusivity in Mothering spaces in Ottawa. She was also recently recognized as a CBC Ottawa Trailblazer for her work with Colours of Mama, and even featured in numerous panels, most recently with CBC Ottawa and Creative Mornings OttawaPearly continues to uplift and support members of marginalized groups by creating The Diatribe Podcast—the first podcast in the South Asian community that tackles taboo topics and creates space and time for learning, openness, self-love, and balance.

Learn more about Pearly. 

Ali Arbeau

In addition to offering classes online, Ali spends a lot of her time working with Warrior Yoga—an international non-profit with a mission to make yoga accessible for all. At Warrior Yoga, Ali serves as the leader of the 2SLGBTQ+-serving Spectrum Committee and the BIPOC Committee, sits on the board of directors, and even offers and facilitates workshops.  

She works to create safe and fun spaces for all people to practice yoga and go deeper into their personal practice. Ali runs and coordinates events for both the Spectrum and BIPOC committees, develops content and programming (including a Diversity & Inclusion program for local yoga studios), and engages with clients and partners directly in all of her work.  

Only a couple years after becoming a yoga teacher, Ali has created and provided so much space and programming for communities that are often underrepresented in the yoga and fitness industry.

Learn more about Ali.

Osmel Guerra Maynes

As the current Executive Director of Capital Pride, Osmel Guerra Maynes is a proud Afro-Latino Queer man who’s known by his colleagues, peers, and friends as patient, kind, and always willing to take the time to listen and impart wisdom.  

Osmel is a social justice activist with a focus on enhancing the inclusion of marginalized voices. From organizing the summer and winter Pride programming to creating the first-ever Queering Black History Month engagement, Osmel’s done it all. He also creates anti-oppression and Queer/Trans competency training, which he provides to schools, businesses, and organizations to help make their spaces more inclusive and equitable.  

Outside of Capital Pride, Osmel has also done a great deal of work to support the 2SLGBTQ+ community, including serving as: the chair of the All Blood is Equal campaign; the Diversity and Inclusion Board Member of the Ottawa Festival Network; Executive Director of QMUNITY, British Columbia’s Queer, Trans, and Two-Spirit Resource Centre; and General Manager of the Pride in Art Society Queer Arts Festival.

Learn more about Osmel.

Kayla and Jenna Spagnoli

Kayla and Jenna Spagnoli are local community builders, who are more formally known as The Feminist Twins. The Feminist Twins work to share resources, information, and promote community collaboration. At first, the twins did this work virtually all through social media, and with support of their community, they were able to pivot to creating in-person events and welcoming spaces for BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+ peoples, the Indigenous community, and other marginalized groups in our region.  

You likely know the Feminist Twins from some of their accessible and progressive events like the annual Feminist Fairs, their Non-Heteronormative Valentine’s Craft Nights, Card or Poster-making nights with local advocacy groups like the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) and the Ottawa Women’s March, or any one of their sober dance parties or networking workshops. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jenna and Kayla collaborated with their community to create the Pride, Not Prejudice Fair—a reoccurring virtual craft and community fair for the socially conscious.

Learn more about Kayla and Jenna

COVID-19 Community Response Table

The COVID-19 Community Response Table came together in February of 2019 to support those most impacted by COVID-19 from a social services perspective. The group looked at issues such as the loss of social contact, loss of work, unstable housing, and loss of in-person services, as well as the challenges associated with isolation or the need to isolate as a high-risk contact. Through the Community Response Table’s work, they looked at how to support people during their greatest time of need.  

From working together to distribute basic needs like food and masks, to helping isolated seniors and people facing mental health challenges get the support they need, helping children stay on track in school by providing the technology they depend on, and so much more. All of this has made a measurable difference for individuals and families across East Ontario.  

This group was recognized for their innovation, creativity, nimbleness, and your ongoing efforts.  

Ottawa Participants
  • Accenture  
  • Algonquin College  
  • Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa  
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa  
  • Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa  
  • Britannia Woods Community House  
  • Buy Social Canada  
  • Canadian Medical Association  
  • Canadian Red Cross  
  • Carefor Health and Community Services  
  • Carleton University  
  • Carlington Community Health Centre  
  • Carty House  
  • Catholic Centre for Immigrants  
  • Causeway Work Centre  
  • Centre for Social Enterprise Development  
  • Champlain Community Support Network  
  • Champlain Dementia Network  
  • Champlain Local Health Integration Network  
  • Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario  
  • City of Ottawa  
  • Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa 
  • Community Development Framework  
  • Community Navigation of Eastern Ontario – 211 
  • Conquer COVID-19  
  • Crime Prevention Ottawa  
  • Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region 
  • Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre  
  • Fabiola’s Addiction and Mental Health Awareness & Support Foundation 
  • Family Services Ottawa  
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities  
  • Future of Good  
  • The Good Companions 
  • Interval House of Ottawa  
  • Ismaili Council of Ottawa  
  • Jeremy Roberts  
  • Jewish Family Services of Ottawa 
  • John Howard Society of Ottawa  
  • La Fédération des aînés et des retraités francophones de l’Ontario   
  • Laura Dudas  
  • Le Cap  
  • Lowertown Community Resource Centre  
  • Lyft
  • Marie-France Lalonde  
  • Matthew House  
  • National Capital FreeNet  
  • No More Debts  
  • OCDSB Education Foundation  
  • OCSB Education Foundation  
  • Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition  
  • Ottawa Catholic School Board  
  • Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative  
  • Ottawa Coalition of Community Houses  
  • Ottawa Coalition To End Violence Against Women  
  • Ottawa Community Benefits Network  
  • Ottawa Community Foundation  
  • Ottawa Community Housing Foundation  
  • Ottawa Community Housing  
  • Ottawa Community Loan Fund  
  • Ottawa Food Bank  
  • Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation  
  • Ottawa Inner City Health  
  • Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership  
  • Ottawa Public Library  
  • Ottawa Victim Services  
  • Ottawa West Community Support 
  • Ottawa-Carleton District School Board  
  • Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care  
  • Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario  
  • Refugee 613  
  • Réseau des services de santé en français de l’Ontario   
  • Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre  
  • Ruckify  
  • Serenity Renewal for Families  
  • Social Planning Council of Ottawa 
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre  
  • Stepstone House  
  • Synapcity  
  • TechInsights  
  • Telus  
  • United Muslim Organizations of Ottawa-Gatineau  
  • United Way Canada  
  • Unsafe at Home
  • Volunteer Ottawa  
  • Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre  
  • Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa 
  • Youturn Youth Services 
Lanark County Participants
  • Algonquin College  
  • Champlain Community Support Network  
  • Champlain Dementia Network  
  • Champlain Local Health Integration Network  
  • Conquer COVID-19
  • Lanark County 
  • Lanark County Interval House and Community Support
  • Lanark County Mental Health  
  • Lanark County Successful Aging Council  
  • North Lanark Community Health Centre  
  • The Table Community Food Centre  
  • Upper Canada District School Board  
  • YAK Youth Centre 
Prescott-Russell Participants
  • Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie
  • Centre Novas
  • Champlain Community Support Network 
  • Champlain Dementia Network
  • Champlain Local Health Integration Network 
  • Conquer COVID-19  
  • Employment Services Centre of Prescott-Russell  
  • Hawkesbury General Hospital  
  • La Fédération des aînés et des retraités francophones de l’Ontario
  • Services communautaires de Prescott-Russell
  • United Counties of Prescott and Russell  
  • Upper Canada District School Board
Renfrew County Participants
  • Algonquin College  
  • Canadian Nuclear Laboratories  
  • Champlain Community Support Network  
  • Champlain Dementia Network  
  • Champlain Local Health Integration Network
  • Conquer COVID-19  
  • County of Renfrew  
  • Phoenix Centre for Children & Families  
  • Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County 


"Wall of Inspiration" locations

Past Community Builder Award recipient names are listed on plaques at the following:
Ottawa: Jean Pigott place, Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1   
Lanark County: Council Chambers, 99 Sunset Blvd, Perth, ON, K7H 2Y4
Renfrew County: United Way Office, 130 Pembroke St W, Pembroke, ON K8A 5M8
Prescott-Russell: 59 Court St, L’Orignal, ON K0B 1K0