Pillar Community Innovation Award Finalists 2020

INNOVATION 

The Atrium Project - A community-driven solution to COVID-19, The Atrium Project is a website and phone service that connects volunteers to individuals unable to access groceries and supplies on their own due to increased risk of infection or other obstacles. Through the use of cutting-edge machine learning technology, Atrium has demonstrated innovation in their capability to meet a critical community need with a user-friendly platform and an efficient end-to-end process that effectively manages volunteers and recipient deliveries. Beyond the pandemic, the project aims to continue and extend their reach to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities, build community and help those who are experiencing barriers in London and beyond.  

Website: https://atrium.app 
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/theatriumproject | https://twitter.com/theatriumprojct | https://www.instagram.com/theatriumproject | https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-atrium-project 

Beecuz - Beecuz is a nonprofit organization that develops and leads innovative mental health education for students, teachers, families and communities. The organization offers skill-based workshops and educational curricula to support youth with tools to address and care for their mental health and to combat stigma. Built on scientific research, evidence-based practice, and teacher feedback, Beecuz’ online instructional platform helps teachers build their understanding of mental health and positive education strategies. Beecuz strives to create a future where youth embrace authenticity, recognize their potential to thrive, and choose courage over comfort; a future where children feel safe and supported, where they believe that they are worthy, and where they dare to chase their dreams. 

Website: https://www.beecuz.org
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/beecuzeducation | https://twitter.com/beecuzeducation | https://www.instagram.com/beecuzeducation 

The Raw Carrot Soup Enterprise - The Raw Carrot Soup Enterprise is a social franchise that partners with churches and nonprofits across Ontario to create meaningful employment for individuals living with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. Through the creation of hand-crafted, gourmet soup, the organization creates opportunities for employees to build confidence and supportive friendships while gaining a sense of purpose and essential income. Since 2014, The Raw Carrot has grown to four locations across Ontario and employs more than 27 individuals. Beyond the direct impact on the lives of employees, the organization is also shaping innovative solutions to decreasing reliance on government funding and challenging the possibilities for the next stage of the social profit sector. 

Website: https://therawcarrot.com 
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/therawcarrot | www.instagram.com/peelingforchange | https://www.linkedin.com/company/therawcarrot

LEADERSHIP

Dustin Carter - Dustin is the Superintendent of Community Paramedicine with the Middlesex-London Paramedic Service. He has demonstrated transformational leadership in his field while influencing provincial change as the lead or co-lead on over 14 projects, committees and working groups - such as the Community Paramedic-Led Influenza Vaccine Clinic, and Mental Health and Alternative Destination - aimed at enhancing mental health, addictions and physical health services, and Palliative Care Crisis & Symptom Management Support – aimed at supporting Palliative Care Outreach Teams when resources are in demand, and COVID-19 response. Dustin seeks to remove barriers to services for individuals who are marginalized to enhance health equity. Recognizing the role of social determinants of health and the complexities of mental health and addictions, Dustin seeks to develop and provide services that are patient­-centred and community-based.

Social media: https://twitter.com/DcarterMLEMS 

Mandi Fields - Mandi is a visionary community organizer and volunteer for numerous causes spanning from period poverty, to anti-bullying, to support of bereaved families and the Indigenous community. She is the founder of Tampon Tuesday, a now Canada-wide movement addressing the need for feminine hygiene products at food banks and eases the shame experienced by women living in poverty. As a past board member of Althosa Healing Services, Founder of the Atlosha Peace Awards, and Producer of the Atlosha See Me Tour, Mandi has demonstrated a commitment to work alongside the Indigenous community towards truth, reconciliation and peace. Across her commitments, Mandi demonstrates the ability to catalyze solutions to community issues while empowering leadership capacity in others. 

Social media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandifields

Arielle Kayabaga - As London’s current City Councillor for Ward 13, Arielle has been recognized nationally as a trailblazer for being the first Black woman and one of the youngest Councillors to be elected to London City Council. Arielle is invested in making London a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming community and is a champion for underserved Londonders including low-income and racialized communities. Her voice and leadership contributed to London's recognition and condemnation of racism in our city, and the commitment of Council to make anti-racism a strategic priority. In addition to her role as civic leader, Arielle is an active public speaker, mentor, community activist, city builder and has served as board member for many local organizations.

Website: https://ariellekayabaga.com 
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/ArielleKayabagaWard13 | https://twitter.com/ArielkeK | https://www.instagram.com/iamaykay | https://www.linkedin.com/in/arielle-kayabaga-7835bb101 

IMPACT

Andrew’s Legacy - Andrew’s Legacy is a charity devoted to equipping all schools, sports fields and recreation centres with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Created in memory of Andrew Stoddart who lost his life to sudden cardiac arrest, the charity also raises awareness and delivers education about the life saving measures of CPR and the operation of AEDs. To date, they have helped with the installation of 55 AEDs in London and have driven policy change. As of 2020, all schools in the Thames Valley District School Board will be outfitted with AEDs. The charity, in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, helped ensure the passing of Bill 141 which will see an AED registry developed for Ontario.

Website: https://www.andrewslegacyforever.com 
Social media: https://twitter.com/Andrewslegacy11 | https://www.facebook.com/andrewslegacy11forever 

Dribbling Down Barriers - Dribbling Down Barriers is a training program that uses basketball as a platform to promote diversity and inclusion while developing athletes on and off the court. The program teaches athletes the discipline, resilience, and effort required in basketball and pushes them outside of their mental and physical comfort zones. Inspired by the prematurely stunted professional career of the program’s co-founder, due to an unjust ruling against hijab wearing, the program embraces the power of basketball to peacefully bring diverse groups together. The opportunity for athletes to engage with people of all races, backgrounds, religions and cultures allows them to understand the importance of inclusion, and know that being “different” should serve as a bridge not a barrier.

Website: https://dribbledownbarriers.com 
Social media: https://twitter.com/Bilqis_AbdulQ 

My Sisters’ Place Sustainability Committee - My Sisters’ Place is a safe, welcoming and inclusive centre that supports women experiencing multiple vulnerabilities through drop-in and wrap-around services. The centre offers a multi-disciplinary support system and delivers practical needs, specialized services and education/skills development under one roof. The Sustainability Committee for My Sister’s Place is a group of 12 volunteers who have dedicated over 10 years to ensuring that the organization can meet the needs of the communities they serve. Through their dedication and commitment to sharing the stories of those who can’t speak for themselves, the committee has raised over $850,000 of critical funds that has enabled multiple service improvements to provide our city’s most vulnerable with dignity and support.

Website: https://cmhamiddlesex.ca/about-cmha/msp
Social media:  www.facebook.com/mysistersplacelondon | www.twitter.com/mysistersplace 

COLLABORATION

Community Food Box - The Community Food Box program was launched by LIFE*SPIN in partnership with On the Move Organics and Lola Bees to ease the burden of food insecurity heightened by COVID-19. During the pandemic, low and fixed-income families, and other vulnerable populations have been disproportionately challenged. In the absence of safe access to supports like the Food Bank or community meals many struggle to put food on the table. Thanks to the additional support of the Ontario Student Nutrition Program and other community partnerships, the program has provided fresh, nutritious food to over 4,600 people, including school-aged children, seniors and pregnant or nursing mothers. By supporting the livelihood of local businesses, this program also helps towards the rebuilding of London’s economy. 

Website: http://lifespin.org 
Social media: https://twitter.com/lifespinorg | https://www.facebook.com/LIFESPIN 

Free Rides for Essential Workers - Free Rides for Essential Workers is a collaboration between Big Bike Giveaway and Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op to provide refurbished bicycles for low-income essential workers allowing them to commute to jobs safely during the pandemic. In normal times, Big Bike Giveaway collects and overhauls hundreds of used bicycles and matches them to Londoners at an annual giveaway. During COVID-19, the organization’s founders saw the transportation challenges of low-wage workers exacerbated and reached out to Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op to help with the physical coordination of bikes to essential workers. The partnership saw over 120 bikes gifted to essential workers and will see social, economic, and environmental benefits to our community in the long term.  

Website: https://bigbikegiveaway.ca
Social media: https://twitter.com/CycleLdnont | https://www.facebook.com/LdnCycleLink | https://twitter.com/BigBikeGiveaway | https://www.facebook.com/BigBikeGiveaway

London for All -  London for All: A Roadmap to End Poverty is a community plan to end poverty in a generation led by United Way Elgin Middlesex. From 2017 to 2020, London for All brought together over 60 stakeholders and 160 volunteers from across sectors to implement the recommendations in the report of the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Poverty. The plan included comprehensive solutions on issues critical to poverty reduction including health, food security, transportation, education and early learning, income and employment, housing and homelessness, changing mindsets and systems change. The project ensured poverty reduction remains a priority for the City of London and provided input on a number of provincial and federal initiatives including the National Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Website: http://unitedwayem.ca/london-for-all
Social media: https://twitter.com/unitedwayemca | https://www.facebook.com/unitedwayemca | https://www.instagram.com/unitedwayemca/?hl=en 

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