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Jim Lamond, Linda Wong, Nite of Hope, Restorative Justice win Constellation Awards
Jim Lamond stands tall, and not just because of his height.
A member of Richmond Sports Council for over four decades, 25 of those years spent as chair, Lamond has led the group’s successful efforts to better the local sports scene. That includes getting additional and enhanced sports facilities for many community sports groups in Richmond. Through his work, Richmond Sports Council has also grown from 12 to over 40 community sports groups.
Lamond’s work has been instrumental in helping to instill a lifelong love of sports in younger members of our community too. He established the Discover Your Sports Day for young children, which encourages youth to try out a sport prior to registration. He also helped to establish KidSport Richmond—an organization that helps cover registration fees for children who might not otherwise have an opportunity to play. In the last five years alone, he helped to raise over $200,000 in grant money so that no child is left on the sidelines because of an inability to pay. KidSport has already provided grants to more than 1,000 children in our community.
As chair of the 2009 BC Seniors Games in Richmond, Lamond helped oversee one of the largest Seniors Games to date. The event hosted over 4,000 participants, 1,100 volunteers around 28 activities.
“I’ve been asked many times why do you volunteer?,” said Lamond. “I think of the people I’ve met through volunteering, who it’s been a honour to work with. It’s what makes volunteering so worthwhile.”
Linda Wong is considered a “game-changer” in the fight against cancer.
For the last 10 years, Wong has been a true ambassador for the Canadian Cancer Society, not only bringing awareness to its mission, but also recruiting hundreds of family, friends and students to come together for the cause.
In December 2004, one of her sisters, Doris Wong, lost her battle to cancer. That year, Linda and her family joined Relay for Life and named their team, Team DW, in memory of Doris. They raised over $15,000 in the first four years. However, Linda decided it wasn’t enough. It became obvious to her that the more people that were part of the “team”, the more money that could be raised. She has since recruited other groups to join under the umbrella of Team DW–the String Gals (a teen girls team), three different Westwind Elementary School teams, and four Cambie Secondary School teams.
Outside of her work with the Relay for Life, Wong helps to organize still more fundraising events: carnivals, car washes, and Coins for Cancer just to name a few.
A personal fight against cancer takes courage. A community’s fight takes commitment. It is Wong’s incessant drive that has kept this community together and going strong. Without her, it would not have been possible to raise the staggering $150,000 from the last nine years.
Choking back tears, an emotional Wong said she shares the award with many others—notably her sister Betty, who does yeoman’s work behind the scenes, and Lisa DeJong “who is the kindest person in the world.”
“She never takes any credit, but is my rock who brainstorms ideas with me and edits my emails.”
Members of the Richmond Restorative Justice Program are part of an innovative program which redirects people from the court system. Instead, it brings offenders and victims together for reparation and healing.Volunteers assume the serious responsibility of helping offenders and victims meet those needs.
Thanks to the work of these volunteers, 46 offenders —most of them young people—were diverted last year from a punitive court system into a program that gave them a chance to take responsibility for their actions. The volunteers are specially trained to facilitate a difficult process where the goal is for everyone to reach a consensus on reparations.
The therapeutic and tangible benefits for the participants of the program contribute to the betterment of the community. Victims can begin to heal at their own pace. Those who have done harm have the opportunity to rescue their reputation by accepting responsibility. Offenders are provided the opportunity to learn from their mistake and regain acceptance in the community. The result is that they are less likely to re-offend in the future.
The volunteers build community by encouraging people to come together to collectively resolve conflict. These passionate, caring members of the Richmond community are, together, creating opportunities for healing and redemption to happen. And in doing so, they are restoring a sense of safety and well-being within the community. They truly deserve to be honored for their courage and commitment.
“It’s a privilege and honour to receive this award,” said Touchstone program c-ordinator Haroon Bajawa, who oversees the program.
He added the City of Richmond has been an “amazing” supporter of the program.
When Nite of Hope founder Judi Miller lost both her mother and sister-in-law to breast cancer, she decided to fight back.
Twenty years ago, she began fundraising efforts in her home with all proceeds going to breast cancer research. After four years, she took the event into an evening format at a local hotel, complete with entertainment, a fashion show, silent auction items, and a raffle.
The annual springtime gala event is now the largest third-party fundraiser for the BC and Yukon chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer society. It has raised over $2.3 million to fund research carried out in Richmond. Monies raised over the next two years will be 100% donated to the Richmond Hospital to fund diagnostic equipment for the breast cancer ward.
In addition to raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer society, the event also raises awareness for the devastating effects of breast cancer and provides support and encouragement to survivors. The work from this event alone has impacted the lives of thousands of women and men in British Columbia.
This year’s event, which took place on April 8 at the River Rock Casino, marked the gala’s 16th anniversary. The event has grown over the years, with fundraisers now also held in the North Shore and the White Rock/South Surrey region.
Year after year, the organizing work has been done by a group of exceptionally loyal, determined and hard working volunteers. The vast majority of the committee have been involved for over a decade. Their dedication