• Myrna Driedger

Many laurels for locals

Article published in The Metro


Charleswood residents have been very busy lately – collecting awards! From recognizing outstanding volunteers to entrepreneurs, many different organizations shone the spotlight on people who live or work in our community. I am always amazed at the level of community involvement and spirit in Charleswood.


The Premier recently presented his Volunteer Service Awards. The winner of the Premier’s Awards for Youth was Cameron Krisko. Cameron has been involved since the age of 18 with an organization that provides on-on-one swimming lessons to children with special needs. He also volunteers as a coach for St. Paul’s High school hockey team, a track and field coach, serves meals at Lighthouse Mission, and served on the board of directors for Special Olympics Manitoba.


Another award was the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education, recognizing the efforts of Manitoba educators. In the category of School Leader, Elaine Giasson, Ecole Dieppe, was recognized for her contributions. As principal at Dieppe since 2010, her clear vision of literacy and numeracy in both official languages have resulted in a thriving school community. She also started many other innovative programs in the school and works closely with the parent council.


Volunteer extraordinaire Valerie Christie was awarded a national award, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (Governor General) for her community work in Charleswood. As the coordinator of the Westgrove Literacy Centre and Family Resource Centre, Valerie always goes beyond expectations to empower residents and build their self esteem. She was also responsible for initiating a Food Bank that is run out of the Westdale Community Centre.

Cassandra Groen, at 19 years is the youngest female hockey coach in Winnipeg AAA history. In addition to coaching, she also trains goalies and volunteers with Sledge Hockey Manitoba. The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) recognized Cassandra with their Most Influential Women Award. CAAWS is the leading organization that educates, promotes, and collaborates to support a sport and physical activity system in which girls and women are actively engaged.


Two Charleswood women were recognized by the YWMA and their Women of Distinction Award. Giovanna Minenna was nominated in the business, professions and trades category. She is founder and chief executive officer of Brows by G, a brow bar and permanent makeup clinic. She facilitates career development for her employees and in her spare time, she mentors young aspiring female entrepreneurs.


In the same category, Mary Ann Kempe was nominated for the Women of Distinction Award for her work with the Birchwood Automotive Group as Chief Human Resources Officer. She helped develop the Women in Automotive Leadership Program. In addition to her responsibilities as part of the Birchwood Executive Leadership Team, Ms. Kempe is the Employee Campaign Chair for the annual United Way campaign for Birchwood. She also participates on various community boards and committees.


Congratulations to all these strong and talented individuals. Charleswood is proud of you.

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