The eighth annual Daughters Day celebration took place on September 14th at Edmonton City Hall. The theme for this year’s event was “balance is better.” The Board of Canadians for Civil Society and the Daughters Day Planning Committee are grateful for the many who attended, volunteered, performed, and donated to the celebration.
Daughters of the Year Award Recipients
Tracy Folorunsho-Barry has taken the initiative to help empower women in her community. She has a passion and love for helping others succeed, personally and professionally. As a community and global advocate, Tracy lives to bridge boundaries and dissolve barriers that hinder women’s advancement and equality. Tracy Folorunsho-Barry is an author and founder of GROW (Gradual Rising of Women). In her book, she describes the challenges, successes and accomplishments of immigrant women in Canada. As the founder of GROW, Tracy’s philosophy is to support, empower and develop women and girls around the world. Tracy is the host and facilitator of the Speak Out Women series, conversations that inspire changes in women’s lives and community. She is currently busy organizing a women’s summit for November in Edmonton that will focus on entrepreneurship methods taught by women leaders that can be applied to women in politics, technology, community, and academics. She has been a person always ready to lend a helping hand, whenever someone needs help and has given her time and energy to friends and family in Canada and Nigeria. Her commitment to helping, especially women in poverty, has grown over the years. In 2015, when a friend suddenly died at a young age from cancer, she was there to help the family and, even though she is married with five children herself, she has continued to help this family. She is an active member of her church and loves to farm and spend time with her children. Tracy has been honoured as one of the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, ABEDORC Achievements Awards in Community Service, and Phenomenal African Women (PAW), and was nominated for the Obsidian Awards in Wellness Coach of the Year. Michelle Nieviadomy opens doorways of understanding and love needed in the pursuit of reconciliation and healing. Her contributions to the people of Treaty 6 territory inspire, engage, and empower, always with compassion. She is an inspirational leader and mentor.
Michelle Nieviadomy opens doorways of understanding and love needed in the pursuit of reconciliation and healing. Her contributions to the people of Treaty 6 territory inspire, engage, and always empower with compassion. She is an inspirational leader and mentor. Michelle has called Edmonton home for 19 years and she is a member of Kawacatoose Cree First Nation. Her activities follow her passion for helping women and the community find balance with their physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health. Often this involves providing opportunities to participate in self-care, health and wellness workshops and fitness classes, respecting and honouring traditional and cultural teachings. She is the owner of Iskwew Health and Wellness, serves as Assistant Director & Facilitator at Edmonton Native Healing Society, and is part of the ministry team of Inner City Pastoral Ministry (ICPM). Michelle has initiated programs that forward the work of reconciliation. One of these is Our Common Ground, a response to the TRC: Calls to Action, that enables education, sharing, relationship building, and encouraging Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations. Her work seeks to bridge cultural gaps and establish an understanding of the Indigenous worldview, honouring the four directions of the Medicine Wheel, particularly in an interfaith context. Her greatest gift is her commitment to serve people in whatever capacity is needed, whether offering a drum song or a prayer of healing or just sitting with struggling community members. Michelle is leading a new initiative, Healing Her Homefire, that grows out of her concern about homelessness and seeks to develop housing for women with children. She received the Clara Woodridge Community Involvement Esquao award in 2013.
J’lyn Ramsankar is a young person living through action and participation, a driver not a passenger. Although only 17 years of age, she seeks to make a difference in the world around her, thinking of the well-being of others. J’lyn has a profound understanding of social justice and civic responsibility, focusing on the mental health and well-being of teens. She has created and delivered several teen-centred forums and written an international blog. While a member of the Minister’s Youth Advisory Council, she worked with the mental health initiative group and contributed ideas for school curriculum reform. J’lyn lives in Sherwood Park and is active in the arts, education, physical activity and family. She is proud of her Ukrainian heritage and encourages others to express themselves through their cultural backgrounds. She has participated in athletics and shares her expertise with younger athletes through volunteer coaching. As an Atom hockey coach, she has focused on getting more youth to try the goalie position and hopes to start her own goalie training camp. She was recently accepted as a full member of the semi-professional Ukrainian dance company Dunai. And she has done this while maintaining academic excellence in her schooling, with an average of over 90% every year. She has become acutely aware of the impacts of her actions on those around her and has focused her efforts on supporting her peers and making a difference in her school community and the community in general. She continues to grow as a young adult looking for opportunities to give back to others, create a brighter future and build the world around her.
Charu Ranjan has been one of the strongest models of volunteerism in the South Asian community over the past four decades. She has given generously of her time and talents to promote Indian culture and multiculturalism, and to support work to address social challenges. She believes communications is key to people living together and demonstrated this in her years as host of “India Magazine” on cable television for several years. She has also been a leader and a teacher with Alberta Hindi Parishad, a group dedicated to promoting the Hindi language and Indian culture. Recognizing the importance of youth for a better future, she was a founding member of Jagriti, an Indo-Canadian youth group. She was also a key organizer for community symposiums on heart disease and cancer. Her contributions to the community were honoured with the National Into Canadian Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In all these activities and many more, she has proven by her life that it is not enough to be a spectator and has been a model for the concept we must be the change we seek to see. Before coming to Canada in 1976, Charu earned a master’s degree in English at the University of Delhi. While raising her own family, Charu ran a day home, but when her two children were adults, she went back to school and became an optician.
Megha Sharma recently graduated as a Chemical–Computer Process Control Engineer from the University of Alberta. She is dedicated to making the campus and her community a safer space, and she was a champion of promoting equity in Engineering. Megha has shown her dedication, leadership, and commitment to inclusivity and diversity through her participation in starting the Diversity in Engineering (DivE) initiative with the goal of bringing awareness to systemic issues that contribute to inequality in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) fields and to advocate for change through research, mentorship, and leadership. DivE serves as an official EngiQueers Canada chapter at the University of Alberta, whose goal is to promote and advocate for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ students (and their allies) in Canadian engineering schools. As the current Research Coordinator of DivE, Megha’s goal is to increase the retention of gender, racial, and sexual minorities in the engineering profession by developing programming that better prepares engineering students to address workplace gender dynamics and challenge barriers to inclusion. From a young age, she was passionate about physics and math. She is the Alberta regional gender distribution representative with Engineers without Borders. The gender distribution team is a new initiative to analyze global issues such a climate change through a gender-based lens. She says, “I want to be an example of how engineers can be passionate about social and technical innovation.”
Sherri Smith has a passion to improve the lives of girls and women through access to education and working to end domestic violence. For over 30 years her volunteer work with United Way of Central Alberta and Soroptimist International of Central Alberta has demonstrated this. Others speak of her as an inspiration, a mentor, and a leader. She believes social and economic empowerment is essential and that this begins with education. As part of Soroptimists, she was instrumental in bringing the Purple Light Nights campaign to Alberta. She looks after the Central Alberta Purple Light Nights Facebook page. She has also been part of the board of Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter. In her work with United Way she has been both a part of the campaign cabinet and of the Citizen Review Committee and in 2011 co-chaired the annual campaign. Sherri Smith is a woman of vision, a vision of a better world for her daughters and their friends, as well as women throughout the world. She has two daughters and has lived in Red Deer since 1988, where she is the financial controller for a large concrete services company. She lives by the motto, “For a community to be great, it has to be great for everyone.” Her community work has been recently recognized with the Women of Excellence award from the Red Deer and District Community Foundation.
- Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
- Canadians for a Civil Society
- Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation
- CBC Edmonton
- Edmonton Heritage Council
- Indo-Canadian Women’s Association
- Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation For World Peace
- Multicultural Family Resource Society (MFRS)
- Norquest College
- South Asian Humanitarian Aid and Resettlement Association (SAHAARA)
- The Shaama Centre for Seniors and Women
- V-VA Salon & Spa
- Women’s Initiative Edmonton
- Ziad Aboultaif