Two individuals and four community projects received recognition during the 12th Annual Mayor’s Community Safety Awards for their outstanding work in the community. The awards were presented during a virtual ceremony on November 14, 2022.
“Congratulations to our award winners, and thank you for all you do in and for our community,” said acting mayor Albert Aiello. “Through these awards, City Council is proud to recognize and highlight the impact you are making in our city.”
The award recipients were featured in a video played at the award ceremony, highlighting the work they do in the community.
The 2022 Mayor’s Community Safety Award Recipients are as follows:
COMMUNITY HERO AWARD:
When Bryan Tucker saw inmates struggling with substance use, he helped form a weekly Men’s Addiction Support Group where he facilitates and, as a person in recovery, shares as a participant. To help break down stigma and improve mental health for the corrections community, Tucker belongs to his workplace Health and Wellness Committee, and recently joined as a peer support volunteer for Boots on the Ground. He also joined the Thunder Bay Drug Awareness Committee, helped organize a Corrections Staff Family Day to promote mental health supports, and shared his own experience with mental health, addictions, and recovery on stage at the 2022 Rockin’ Recovery event.
Award sponsored by Apex Investigation & Security
YOUNG LEADER AWARD: Tisha Duncan
Tisha Duncan is an exemplary young leader, peer mentor, and role model with the Regional Multicultural Youth Council (RMYC). She organizes youth-led activities like Girl Power and Band of Brothers day camps for kids in high-risk neighbourhoods, assists with RMYC’s after-school and tutoring programs, promotes RMYC’s peer mentoring and student ambassador programs, and helped launch Pathways to Education to encourage vulnerable students to stay in school. Duncan sees how social isolation, poverty, racism, and negative influences can lead to violence and reaches out to groups and agencies to help kids feel a sense of safety and belonging.
Award sponsored by Generator
OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT: Hospice Northwest
A Personal Lens on Grief
In April 2022, Hospice Northwest asked the community to share their grief experiences by taking a photo that shows what grief looks like to them. These images, together with a brief story page, created A Personal Lens on Grief, a month-long exhibit at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. There were three workshops associated with the event during three Saturdays in April: Grief Through Movement, Expressive Art, and a Movie Night showing the completed video. This project allowed viewers and visitors to witness the impacts of grief and create a community of support. The photos encouraged discussion about a difficult topic and gave Hospice Northwest a window to educate Thunder Bay about its grief support services.
Award sponsored by Circle K
OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT: Niizhaayek Alliance
Founded and led by 2SLGBTQ+ Indigiqueer youth, the non-profit Niizhaayek Alliance works to reduce the stigma and risks experienced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community. In addition to offering workshops, talks, sharing circles, and an annual Ontario-wide 2SLGBTQ+ youth gathering, the Alliance uses its platform to promote relevant 2SLGBTQ+ resources and events. Its podcast series, The In-Between People, features 2SLGBTQ+ Indigiqueer change-makers breaking new ground in healthcare, fashion, art, and performance. By creating safe spaces for youth to connect to positive role models, peers, and elders, while celebrating 2S identity and culture, Niizhaayek Alliance improves safety and well-being, and empowers 2SLGBTQ+ Indigiqueer youth.
Award sponsored by GardaWorld
OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT: Team DEK
Created by a grieving mother who lost her daughter to addiction, Team DEK brings together concerned citizens, care providers, affected family members, persons accessing services, and community leaders to find and create appropriate responses to the ongoing addiction crisis. The DEK
Foundation is a grassroots, non-profit, volunteer-run organization that works tirelessly on numerous awareness and fundraising events throughout the year to help stop the stigma surrounding addiction, and carry out important advocacy efforts to increase resources and improve the lives of individuals and families battling addiction. Team DEK also supports existing organizations who meet the complex needs of vulnerable people – like donating lunches to the NorWest Community Health Centre Outreach Team for street delivery. Team DEK’s efforts contribute to the overall health and safety of the community.
Award sponsored by Enbridge Gas Inc.
OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT: Elevate NWO
Leading the Community Response to Unsheltered Homelessness
Elevate staff and leadership believe that individuals experiencing chronic homelessness can be successfully housed. With respect and dignity, Elevate coordinates support for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness by ensuring that amenities, services, and health/harm reduction supports are delivered to sleeping rough locations. Approaching and supporting individuals compassionately can increase success in securing housing, and interventions are often assisted by peers with lived experience who receive an honorarium, recognition for their service, and important work experience. Community partners include: The City of Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Police Service, Thunder Bay District Health Unit Street Outreach Nursing, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Elizabeth Fry Society of NWO,
Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre, NorWest Community Health Centre Outreach Team, Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board, and local businesses.
Award sponsored by Matawa First Nations Management
Each outstanding community project recipient received a $1,000 award from their sponsor to support community safety efforts. You can view videos of the winners and their respective projects here.