2022 Award Winners

RISING STAR: Angela Vermeer

Outreach Support Worker at Chilliwack Society for Community Living Community Living Services (CSCL) Community Living Services

When Angela began her practicum at Chilliwack Society for Community Living after completing the Community Support Worker program, her intention was to work with children. Soon after she arrived, though, she realized her passion was in outreach. As a single parent who experienced poverty and homelessness, Angela connected with and became a strong advocate for those who were in similar situations. She shows unwavering dedication to those she supports, often adjusting her own schedule and coming in on days off to ensure their needs are met. She has gone into homeless camps, shelters, and precarious locations to help vulnerable individuals in need of a listening ear and non-judgemental support. Perhaps Angela’s greatest strength is her passion for supporting women with disabilities who are new parents. Angela actively works with new or expectant mothers to acquire the skills to parent safely and effectively. She is knowledgeable about infant development and has been involved with developing a parenting program specifically for mothers with developmental disabilities. In her four years at CSCL, Angela has cemented her position as a much-loved colleague who co-workers regularly turn to for advice and direction.


HERO: Neil Cutler

Community Support Worker at Nanaimo Supportive Lifestyles Ltd. Community Living Services

Hired straight out of University as a Community Support Worker in 2005, Neil has been making his mark at Nanaimo Supportive Lifestyles Ltd. for 17 years. Far from someone who clocks in and out of work, Neil has proactively and enthusiastically spearheaded a number of agency initiatives for the benefit of those he supports. He founded Nanaimo Community Dances in 2006 on his own time to provide individuals with diverse abilities large dance events several times a year. This endeavour included recruiting volunteers, purchasing equipment (which he did with his own money), finding space and honing his craft as a DJ, all which proved worthwhile given its huge community success. Neil reimagined the format of the dances when the pandemic hit, quickly turning them into virtual events that attracted participants from all over North America. The dance initiative, however, is not Neil’s only achievement. He also took yoga teacher training and specialized in trauma-sensitive yoga, which is a wildly successful service that he now leads. Neil also manages a weekly Board Game Group, where the focus is on in-person interactions without the distractions of digital devices. By championing these activities, Neil has proven to be an uplifting force in the lives of those he serves and has brought joy to countless individuals.

LEADER: Lise Boughen

Director of Inclusive Housing at UNITI Community Living Services

As one of the longest serving employees at UNITI (formerly Semiahmoo House Society), Lise Boughen has held almost every role in her 34 years with the organization. She started as a casual employee while pursuing her undergraduate degree in social sciences and moved into a full-time role as a Day Programmer for a group home upon completing her degree. Lise’s leadership skills were quickly recognized and she was promoted to a supervisory role, taking on progressively more senior roles with UNITI’s group homes, day programs and homeshare services and eventually, landing in her current role as Director of Inclusive Housing. Lise is a beloved and highly respected colleague who will go out of her way to make the lives of those around her better - this includes visiting a staff member in hospital regularly after she suffered a stroke, donating her time to provide relief for a colleague so they could take time off, and personally ensuring the rental debt of an individual supported by UNITI. Lise is also one of UNITI’s top volunteers and donors, generously giving of her time and money so many of the agency’s unfunded services could be sustained. Lise has been instrumental in creating a culture of respect for people with disabilities, all the while maintaining an expectation of high standards of professionalism and accountability. She leads by example, never holds her position over anyone and fulfills her role with true passion and enthusiasm.

LEGEND: Kathy Stinson

Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Cool Aid Society General Services

Under Kathy’s leadership over the past 17 years, the Victoria Cool Aid Society has grown in measurable and extraordinary ways. When Kathy took the helm in 2005, she inherited an organization with 144 employees and through the years, has grown that to 380 team members in 20 locations throughout Greater Victoria. This growth in personnel has also meant an impressive expansion of services. The agency evolved its traditional program offerings of housing and shelter to include community health outreach for marginalized adults. The Community Health Centre is a rapidly growing service that provides nutritious meals, a dental clinic, employment assistance and a community centre with social and recreational opportunities to tens of thousands of community members each year. On top of being a visionary leader who recognizes the needs of the community, Kathy is beloved for her little known gestures of caring and thoughtfulness, like quietly sending flowers to a tenant to congratulate them on three years of sobriety. Kathy is appreciated by staff for her implicit trust in them and her openness to hearing diverse points of views from those at all levels. She was instrumental in bringing like-minded organizations together through the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, which includes health and social services providers, government, businesses, the faith community, people with lived experiences of homelessness, and others, all with an interest in collectively addressing the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. The Coalition is just one example of how Kathy employs meaningful collaboration to enhance the lives of those she serves, along with the community at large.