A university educated, father, grandfather, husband, small business owner (and four times con-victed felon), James has worked as a bouncer, trucker, and winter road specialist. In 2009, James became a home owner, active in his community with the Dufferin Residents Association of Winnipeg, as a board member.
After one year he was elected to the position of Board Chair. In 2014, the discovery of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine’s body in Winnipeg strongly influenced James about the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. It was clear to James the community needed to take action to make their community safer, so he used the skills he had been developing in the community to bring together a group of like minded people, and reestablished the Bear Clan Patrol. Believing there was a greater need to support and protect his community, James left his trucking job to focus all his energy on heading up the Bear Clan full time, as their executive director.
Operating with little to no funding, relying on volunteers and donations from the public, five nights a week, members walk the streets of the North End, providing protection and security for the city’s vulnerable. Bear Clan members organize search parties for missing people, hand out food and hygiene products and with many members having first aid training, are equipped to save lives. They can also be found picking up discarded needles, providing comfort and guid-ance to the homeless and engaging youth through “mock patrol” programs twice a week, or col-lecting donations for families who’ve lost their homes to fire.
What began as a fight to make his city safer, has grown into a nationwide success story. The group of 12 members that was formed in 2014, has now grown to 730 Winnipeg volunteers. The Bear Clan model is now running in 19 communities, in 11 cities, within four provinces in Canada and is recognized by communities all over the world. The Bear Clan message is being heard!
In 2015, Tracie began her quest to raise money and awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW), by running 115km in four days, for her own MMIW JOURNEY OF HOPE. Raising over $6,000 for Families First Foundation, her story was shared through interviews on TV, radio, social media, and in newspapers and magazines around the world.
While in high school, she was one of 11 students who formed YAMIS( Youth Against mental illness stigma), they wanted to stop the stigma surrounding mental health after losing classmates who had taken their lives. She also participated in field hockey, ice hockey, track, wrestling, ringette and water polo at school and in the community! A strong believer in Metis culture she learned to play the fiddle at a young age and has jigged and square danced since the age of three, traveling across North America to spread her culture. Now a scholarship student in the faculty of social work at the University of Regina, she finds time to volunteer at Ehrlo Sport Ven-ture. A program that helps underprivileged youth get involved through sport. This is just a small list of Tracie’s many accomplishments, she is an incredible inspiration and role model for her peers, and to us all.
Working in social services, Wendy saw the need for a program that would take students out of the classroom and focus on lifelong transferable skills acquired through interaction with horses. Self-confidence and friendships (both horse and human) are two of the many gifts that develop naturally while students learn how to work with and ride horses.
Originally working with students in Pembina Trails School Division, Urban Stable now includes participants from Seine River SD schools and from Oak Bluff and Starbuck schools in Red River Valley SD. The students range in age from 11 to 15 years old and are referred for the program by school staff. More than 500 students have benefited from the program to date, some of whom have moved into an alumni group that meets on Saturdays, and former students are now volunteering with the program. Participating school divisions fund half the cost for the students’ participation, the staff, board and all volunteers participate in fund raising activities, and the charity has also received grants from The Winnipeg Foundation, The Moffat Family Fund and Youth in Philanthropy, Thomas Sill Foundation, Graham C. Lount Family Foundation, Manitoba Community Services Council Inc. and Rotary Club of Winnipeg-Charleswood over the years.
The staff and volunteers at Urban Stable credit Wendy with enriching their lives, while parents, students and school staff regularly send heartfelt testimonials to both the program and to thank Wendy personally for her contribution to their lives and the community.
Hannah Taylor, M.S.C.
In 2001, at the tender age of five, Hannah witnessed a homeless man eating from a garbage bin on a bitter winter day. In response to her obvious distress, Hannah’s mom simply said “sometimes when you worry and feel sad about things, if you do something to change the problem, your heart won’t feel so sad.” The next day, Hannah began her quest to change the problem, to the great benefit of Canada’s homeless population.
Hannah is also the founder of a second, separate charity, The Ladybug Foundation Education Program Inc., through which she has inspired the development of “makeChange: The Ladybug Foundation Education Program”, a K-12 resource for use in schools across Canada to empower young people to get involved and “makeChange” in their world. She is the published author of Ruby’s Hope, a beautifully written and illustrated children’s story that inspires hope and caring, and empowers its readers to “makeChange” at every age.
Hannah is one of six people who will receive this year’s Six Core Principles Awards from the Muhammad Ali Centre, in September. The awards honour people under 30 who are transforming communities and bringing about positive change in the world. Each recipient is recognized for one of the six “core principles”: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality.
For many years, Roland suffered from drug addiction, leading to loneliness and street life and was ready to take his own life. Recently, Roland Vandal was honoured as a community leader by the province of Manitoba. Now, his incredible journey is the subject of a documentary, Wounded Healer: The Roland Vandal Story produced and directed by Winnipeg filmmaker Jim Agapito, and his book, Off the Ropes : My Story, with a recently signed a feature movie deal based on the book he authored.
Roland shares his life lessons with others to help them overcome their suffering. Engaged in over 700 motivational speaking forums, including schools, conferences and 12 step programs, Roland dedicates his time to raise awareness and provide assistance in communities across Canada and the U.S. His many accomplishments include; being named one of the Top 100 Speakers and Community Leaders in Canada and the U.S., presented with the John C Maxwell Leadership Award, named “One of Manitoba’s Finest” buy the Kidney Foundation of MB, select-ed as one of Manitoba’s top 40 Leaders, “Leadership Winnipeg Book” by Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and so much more! It’s been a long road back for Roland, but what a journey!