The Laurel Awards annually recognizes the achievements of non profit groups in Edmonton and area including Drayton Valley. Each year starting in February until the end of May, they invite applications from non profit groups for these awards. A selection committee then evaluates the programs and projects on the basis of their successful innovation and creativity, regardless of size and overall budget and select the winners. This year we celebrate the Laurel Awards at a luncheon on September 13, 2017 at The Westin Edmonton. The five awards that will be presented at this year’s luncheon will receive cash prizes: Gold $5000 | Silver $3000 | Bronze $2000 | Staff Choice $1000 | Audience Choice $500. Applications must be submitted by the non profit organization responsible for the program or project by May 31, 2017 at 11:00 pm MST.
The program or project must have been completed by a non profit society, a registered charity or through an appropriate government program. Non profit organizations may submit as many of their programs or projects as meet the Laurel Awards criteria. Winning programs or projects from previous years will not be considered.
The program or project must:
- further the recognized mission of the organization;
- have met predetermined goals and objectives;
- demonstrate innovation through the creative utilization of resources (e.g. volunteers, partnerships, sponsorships, etc.);
- exhibit original thought in the creation or implementation of the project; and
- have taken place within Edmonton and area including Drayton Valley.
Dreams Take Flight Edmonton
Our flight happens annually and our goal is to take at least 110 deserving children with us to Disneyland each year. Although Air Canada generously donates the aircraft for the day and the pilot and flight crew are volunteers, everything else must be fundraised or donated. Our annual budget is $180,000 and covers fuel for the plane, park admission, food costs for all meals and snacks for the day, a complete set of clothing for each child (including footwear, socks, hats, shorts, t-shirt, sweat shirt, sunglasses and hat) as well as spending money for each child to purchase special souvenirs. The costs to run our project each year continue to increase – fuel, park admission, the US dollar. All of these factors have an impact on our ability to take the number of children that we do. Due to this factor, we are never able to plan our trip more than one year in advance, and some years, we come very close to rethinking some of our purchases or strategically discussing how to stretch every dollar.
Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society
You Can Ride 2 Borrow a Bike Program
The Borrow A Bike program provides bikes on loan to children whose disabilities make it impossible for them to ride a 2-wheel bicycle. Many of the children who use our program have tried to ride an adaptive bike, but have not had success. Therapists and mechanics come together to make each bike suit the needs of the child, allowing them to finally ride. For some children, this will be the only opportunity for them to participate in physical activity with their family and friends. This fall we’re launching our school project for the Borrow A Bike program (pilot project ran last year). Our summer bike return date is October 1st and we’ll have the bikes fitted for the needs of specific children and out into the schools by November 1st. The Borrow a Bike program is focused on accessibility for people who stand to make the most gains from cycling. EBC’s vision is that “Everyday cycling in Edmonton is safe, widespread, and accessible to people of all comfort levels.”
Youth in Care Employment Project
The main goal is to work with youth (ages 16-25) in care who live with a disability and do not have any natural/unpaid supports to assist them with long term career planning, job seeking, and on-going employment supports. We define “youth in care” as youth who are fully supported by government resources and do not have access to a family support network. We define “disability” as intellectual disability, persons with long-term permanent or episodic disability, mental health, acquired brain injury, FASD, Autism/Asperger’s, and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities. We define “employment” as having a direct employment contract with the employee, paying at least minimum wage, providing a workspace, as applicable, that is not segregated and allows the employee to work alongside other employees, and providing a work environment where the employee has opportunity to be engaged in workplace culture. Too often, youth in care who live with disabilities do not get adequate supports around long term career planning and employment.
Humane Animal Rescue Team (HART)
Shelter from the Storm Program and the Food Program
For every dog that HART rescues, many are left behind to fend for themselves. By providing homeless dogs shelters from extreme weather, we are ensuring that dogs are provided safety until a rescue is possible. HART researched the ideal size as recommended by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) for various breeds, and created unique plans. HART has offered to share the shelter plans with other groups to avoid each group investing considerable time doing research and preparing plans. Shelters are allocated based on extensive strategy including pack location, dogs targeted for rescue, current access to shelter and community support. We also fill the houses with straw and a constant source of food. HART partner retailers will donate food that has been opened, has damaged packaging or nearing its expiration date. As no HART donation goes to waste, these items are reserved specifically for the shelter program.
Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region
Integration of The Support Network and CMHA
On November 2, 2015 The Support Network (TSN) and Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region (CMHA-ER) formally integrated as one organization under the CMHA-ER banner after ten months of hard work. Funders have been encouraging organizations to collaborate more closely for several years. They are looking for a more seamless delivery of services for Edmontonians, as well as organizational models that direct more of their investment to the front lines. Coming together was a financial necessity: without drastic action, TSN would have been forced to cut back the Distress Line as well as other programs. CMHA-ER was not large enough to expand and offer the full spectrum of services families need. However, integration also makes sense for Edmontonians for whom the system is often overwhelmingly fragmented. People dealing with suicide, mental illness, and mental health issues, together with their families want easy access to the supports they need, a seamless transition from one to another.
Check out the award application at: http://dcllp.com/community/laurelawards/community.asp.