Champions for children celebrated
It's a milestone year for the annual Champion for Children Awards of Excellence, so it's fitting Cowichan's 2012 winners are particularly outstanding.
Winners included Individual Champion Kathryn Coopsie, Aboriginal Champion Howie George, Business Champion Fit Stop Fitness, and Group Champion the Cowichan Maternity Clinic.
"What really stood out was Howie George," Lise said. "He really inspired the crowd and the guests that were there to make a difference in their community, and through his story, it just shows what you can do — it was very inspiring."
George is known for spearheading the annual community Christmas dinner, which serves hundreds of in-need Cowichanians every year. The event also provides gifts for children and other household essentials that help families through the holidays.
George has also supported the Kidzone puppet team in the community, and hosts a community Easter egg hunt and barbecue at his home every year, with his partner Tracy, for community connection and family support.
"It was nice to be recognized, and I want to say thanks to the people who nominated me," said George, noting he still doesn't know who put his name forward as a Champion for Children.
He says the community is why he does the work he does — and the community also helps make it all possible.
"I come up with these ideas, and the community comes together to make it happen," he explained.
The New Life Community Church, for example, is a huge helper for the annual Christmas dinner.
"I just do it to give back," said George, "and hopefully it opens up a treasure box for young kids, knowing that our community is good — because it is."
The awards, which were presented on Saturday at the Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre, are a good example of that.
"It was just a really wonderful evening," Lise said. "And we were inspired to make a difference from those who lead around us."