Niagara, Ontario area MPP Awards Women and Girls who Make a Difference

News from the Constituency Office of Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

Posted June 5th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Welland, Ontario – Two women and three girls from the Welland riding were honoured today during a ceremony at Holy Trinity United Church in Welland as recipients of the Leading Women, Leading Girls Building Communities award.

from left to right: Allison Pillwein, Brenda Martin-French, Garyn Burns, Mary Petriw and Emma Mete, with Welland MPP Cindy Forster, third from right

Cindy Forster, MPP for Welland Riding, hosted a celebration this afternoon and presented the awards for this year’s winners: Garyn Burns, Emma Mete, Mary Petriw, Allison Pillwien, and Brenda Martin-French.

“I am pleased to recognize each of these recipients who have made such an impact on our community,” said Forster.

“Reading through the nominations and letters of support, I was amazed at the dedication and passion exhibited by these women and girls in my riding. They most certainly do not do all that they do for recognition, but because they deeply care about improving the lives of others in their community,” Forster added.

Garyn Burns brings joy everywhere she goes. She volunteers her time and talents by singing in nursing homes for the elderly and in palliative care. Her courage and passion is seen through her commitment to improving the lives of others. Garyn is a picture of patriotism, and has sung the National Anthem to new arrivals in Canada, at community festivals, and for the Ice Dogs. She currently volunteers for the Public Health Youth Advisory committee, and provides an important voice for youth health issues in her community. At only 12 years old, Garyn’s extensive community service and maturity allows her to inspire other to become agents for change themselves. Congratulations Garyn!

Emma Mete is our other leading girl recipient. She is a Notre Dame student in Welland, and an avid volunteer. She exemplifies what a community leader looks like. She started her own business, offering private swim lessons at request of the mother. Emma volunteers with food banks, Elections Canada, Harvest Kitchen, and countless other organizations, all while maintaining academic excellence. Despite her busy schedule, Emma is president of her Student Council and is actively involved in many organizations within her school. In the community, on the alter, in the pool or within the class room, Emma Mete is an outstanding citizen and certainly a leading young woman.

Mary Petriw is one of our leading girl recipients who received high praise from her Girl Guide leader and her soccer coach. Her volunteer work with Girl Guides has led to her receiving awards for her dedication to community service and her outstanding leadership skills. She goes above and beyond to coach children in athletics, and is a positive role model for women and girls in her community. Her positive spirit, leadership qualities, and can-do attitude are an inspiration to everyone she interacts with.

Allison Pillwein is an active member of our community and consistently fights for the less fortunate. She goes above and beyond in her commitments, contributing over 330 volunteer hours annually to the YWCA alone.  Her successes with the YWCA are extensive, and include introducing the “cardboard house” campaign to Niagara College, which acted as an engagement tool to challenge myths surroundings homelessness. She is involved with the “Power of Being a Girl” event where Allison helps to empower grade 10 girls to live happy and healthy lives. Allison is a member of leadership programs at Niagara College, and continues to devote her life to her passion: helping others. Her tireless efforts towards raising awareness about poverty and women’s issues in our community do not go unnoticed, Allison is truly an exceptional leading woman.

Brenda MartinFrench has dedicated her life to working in the social service. Brenda created the “SHE” program, which has bettered the lives of over 400 women in the Niagara region by offering professional development to women in poverty. Brenda lifts up women in her community in many ways, including her assistance with the “Ladies Day” program at St.David’s Anglican Church. She has been instrumental in helping women in precarious positions achieve education and employment, and betters the lives of everyone around her.  Brenda has made a remarkable impact of women of all ages in the region and is an inspiration to all. Our community is significantly improved by Brenda’s presence, tireless work and passion. Thank you Brenda!

The Leading Women, Leading Girls Building Communities program is awarded through the Ontario Women’s Directorate.

This year’s winners were honoured for their work at Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Division Street in Welland. Award nominations will be open again in October of this year.

In the group shot Pictured from left to right: Allison Pillwein, Brenda Martin-French, Garyn Burns, Mary Petriw and Emma Mete

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders



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