By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – Time is running out for residents to nominate exceptional area women for some special recognition. For the past 15 years, the St. Albert Bahá’í community has sponsored an annual celebration of United Nations International Women’s Day by recognizing the contributions women make to society through their generosity of spirit, courage, creativity, determination, steadfastness, leadership, enthusiasm, love, caring, and other attributes that enrich the communities in which they live. This year’s celebrations will take place in St. Albert on Mar. 5 but the deadline for nominations is Feb. 7.
Committee member and Morinville resident April Heppleston said the committee is once again looking for women of note in the area.
“We’re searching throughout this region – being St. Albert and the Sturgeon County region, which includes Morinville and any community within the county – for women of note,” Heppleston said, adding nominees fall in three categories: seniors, adults and youth. “The women who are active in their communities, they can fall into any category – business, art, community service, education, health, literacy, etc.”
Heppleston said some past honourees have included Lois Hole and Senator Thelma Chalifoux.
“What we’re looking for are women who are worthy of being honoured, and we’re looking at the community level,” she said. “Anyone can do nominating of a person. They just have to tell us who, what category and why.”
The recognition, in addition to covering women of all ages also covers a wide variety of categories. There are eight categories on this year’s nomination form: health, education, multicultural, Aboriginal initiatives, unsung heroine, science, arts and youth empowerment. However, the form provides an open option to identify exceptional women who do not fall into one of the identified categories.
Heppleston explained how often nominees are women who do the wonderful things they do without the thought of being recognized for their efforts. “What we commonly find is these women don’t think they’re anybody special and we have had a lot of experience with reluctant heroes,” she said. “Don’t expect them to be falling over themselves with joy that they have been nominated. Yet, once the process get’s going it’s always a very wonderful experience for the woman who has been honoured.”
One area that is often difficult to find nominees for is the youth category. Heppleston said as a committee member she will be speaking to the junior high and high school in the hopes the two schools can help locate suitable youth nominees for recognition.
“It is amazing the people that we find, particularly in the youth category because, commonly speaking, people don’t have the highest opinion of youth or don’t see what they’re doing in the community,” Heppleston said. “The young lady who was honoured last year was just exemplary. We’re searching for the unsung heroes.”
In order to be considered as an award nominee, the woman must be a resident of St. Albert or Sturgeon County, including the towns and hamlets within the County. The nominee’s contribution may be current or may have taken place at any time; however, the contribution should have a positive impact on their community.
Heppleston said nomination forms are available in Morinville at the Morinville Public Library as well as online at www.stalbertbahai.org. Nomination forms may also be obtained by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.