Alphonsine Saulnier, RSW

Recipient of the CASW Distinguished Service Award

Alphonsine Saulnier is a family woman (a proud grand-mère), community activist, social work volunteer, educator, and valued NSCSW volunteer. Alphonsine Yvonne Saulnier, MSW RSW is a remarkable social worker. Her contributions to the community in which she lives and to the social work profession can inspire us all.As a young woman, she joined a religious order and studied nursing at Université de Moncton. She worked in public health in South West Nova, a rural area populated largely by Acadian communities. She subsequently went to Dalhousie University and received her MSW.A proud and active Acadienne and Francophone, Alphonsine was president of Réseau Santé de la Nouvelle-Écosse for a number of years. In this role she lobbied successfully for health, post-secondary education and other needed services to be accessible to the local French speaking residents. In the 1980s, she was a founding member of Collège de l’Acadie, a community college system that provided technical and professional programmes throughout Nova Scotia.

The Collège merged with Université Sainte-Anne, and Alphonsine became Chair of the Department of Health Professions of which the Social Work Programme is a part. After her retirement, she continued to mentor students and social worker candidates, offering them supervision and guidance as they entered our profession. Alphonsine has given a great deal to the NSCSW. She has served on the Board of Examiners, volunteered to be the Board representative on NSCSW’s Professional Development committee and participated on a number of Board sub-committees, such as Entry to Practice, Discipline, Ethics and Complaints.As a result of her position on the Board, Alphonsine encouraged the Association to develop an ethics workshop.

At first, the workshop targeted new graduates, but over time it became clear that all registrants would benefit from participation. She worked with other Board volunteers to develop the workshops. She made sure that the didactic content and case studies addressed the issue of public protection. Participants learn what it means to be ethical and competent in their practice. She was part of the team that piloted the workshop in rural and urban settings. Eventually, the workshops were offered in both French and English, given that an increasing number of NSCSW’s registrants are Francophone. Alphonsine embodies social work. Her commitment to the profession and the Association certainly embodies the essence of the Distinguished Service Award.


Jill Ceccolini, RSW

Recipient of the David William Connors Memorial Award

Jill Ceccolini is a social worker, educator and therapist utilizing a collaborative, strengths-based approach in her clinical practice and in her work as a supervisor and trainer. She is a full time clinician, working with individuals, couples and families, at the Canadian Forces Health Service Centre Atlantic and in her private practice. Jill is a co-director of Halifax Brief Therapy Centre, a private training and supervision consultation service. Since 1996, Jill has been teaching various levels of counselling skills at Dalhousie University, through the School of Social Work degree programs and through the Continuing Education Program.

Jill was the 21st president of the NS Association of Social Workers serving from 2000 – 2002.


Barbara Ann Nickerson, RSW

Recipient of the Freda Vickery Award

Barb Nickerson retired from her position as a clinical health care social worker on March 31, 2015. Throughout the years she has been a valued member of our Social Work team and of the interdisciplinary clinical teams with which she worked. She demonstrated caring and compassion toward patients and families on a daily basis and upheld social work values and ethical standards in the services she provided.Barb is a “people person” and she began her work life in the teaching profession in rural Newfoundland. Her growing concerns for the wellbeing of the children she taught led her to pursue a career in social work.

She worked as a social worker in Newfoundland, Alberta and Manitoba. She worked at home for several years raising her two daughters but remained active in the communities in which she lived. She worked with seniors as well as children and new immigrants (and worked as an ESL teacher for a time). In 2001 Barb joined the Social Work Department at the QE II Health Sciences Centre. Not long after, she began working on the Nephrology Service and devoted her time and considerable skills and energy to Nephrology patients/families, staff members and students until her recent retirement. She enjoyed sharing her knowledge and expertise with staff and students (from all disciplines) and used every opportunity to promote the profession of social work. Barb has always been a strong advocate for patients and their families and for social work. In doing this, she’s demonstrated her leadership ability, her willingness to take initiative and her creativity in finding innovative solutions for seemingly impossible situations.

We believe that she deserves to be honored and recognized for her professional, community service and her excellence in social work practice.



Sharon Murphy, MSW

Recipient of the CASW Distinguished Service Award

Sharon has a long career in social work during which she worked in the mental health field and volunteered to a great extent. She was active in the NSCSW, particularly in the social justice realm. She was involved with council for about 20 years and chaired the social justice committee for five years. She has done much advocacy work on poverty and family violence issues.

Sharon has a strong reputation among the social work community for her passion and commitment to social justice. She has been a tireless advocate for disadvantaged people writing opinion pieces for the media, researching social problems and participating in various Boards and coalitions.

Sharon chaired the Amherst Poverty Action committee for 15 years and was on the Board for the Transition House for 18 years. She was on the Board for the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association and the Board for Family and Children’s Services. She represented Nova Scotia on Canada Without Poverty for six years, and also on the Canadian Council on Persons with Disabilities.

More recently, Sharon has been a member of the Community Coalition to End Poverty in Nova Scotia; the Community Advocates Network; Halifax Solidarity, and Kairos. Kairos works on issues for poverty and the environment. She is on the Board of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, and of the Basic Income Canada Network. She recently received the Courage to Give Back Award from Family S.O.S. Sharon also volunteers with serving meals at churches twice weekly.

As Sharon has demonstrated immensely her capacities for compassion, leadership, high ethical standards and commitment to social justice; has furthered social work in her social action and community organization work; and has served the NSCSW on Council and in Committee. She amply fulfils the requirements for the Distinguished Service Award.

(Adopted from CASW Website)


Jacqueline Barkley, RSW

Recipient of the Ronald Stratford Memorial Award

Established in 1984 in memory of Ron Stratford this award is given to a social worker who (1) through volunteer efforts makes a significant contribution to preventative or community based social service programs or (2) is involved in research surrounding a community based social service program or (3) makes an outstanding contribution to establishing and/or sustaining a self-help group or functions as a consistent and strong advocate for expanded preventive or community based social service programs. It is fitting that the 2014 recipient of the award is Jacqueline Barkley.
Graduating from the Maritime School of Social Work in 1986, from the beginning of her career as a community organizer in North End Halifax, Jackie has dedicated herself to advocating for persons who are marginalized and disenfranchised by society. During the course of her career she has worked in various capacities such as a member of the IWK Child Abuse Team, the Choices Adolescent Treatment Program, the Short Stay Mental Health services at the Nova Scotia Hospital, New Options alternative school for youth in the Uniacke Square community, the Geriatric Assessment Team at the QEII, with Corrections Canada and in private practice. Her volunteer endeavours have been as wide ranging and varied as her formal employment and have included involvement with Dalhousie Legal Aid, Community Social Justice, North End Daycare, the Housing for People Coalition for a Non-Racist Society. She also found time to be both manager and singer of the a capella group Four the Moment. In addition she has been a regular commentator on social issues on CBC Radio, an author, a presenter and speaker at various workshops and symposiums.

Multi-talented, energetic, dynamic, articulate are all words that can be an integral part of any description of Jacqueline Barkley. She is truly a social activist and advocate who does whatever she undertakes with vibrancy and passion. As one of her supporters for the Ron Stratford Memorial Award stated: “ Ms. Barkley offers a critical perspective on social issues and always considers prevention and development from a community perspective as a means to implement an idea and to advance a cause for positive change”….and “give of herself and her time in the promotion of social justice and prevention”.

Currently Ms. Barkley is a member of Cultural Clinical Consultants, a group of mental health clinicians from several professions such as social work, psychology and law who ensure their services are culturally competent and inclusive in meeting the needs of their diverse client population. As the recipient of the Ron Stratford Memorial Award, Ms. Barkley exemplifies the intent and expectations of those who established the Award, follows and enhances the path of the social worker in whose name it is given.


Betty Ann Rousselle, RSW

Recipient of the David William Connors Memorial Award

The David William Connors Memorial Award was established in 1997 by the NSCSW Council at the behest of David’s friends and colleagues. A man who stressed the importance of respect, caring, empathy and dignity toward others, David’s special interest and career focus was children and youth. This Award is bestowed annually on a member of the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers who exemplifies those attributes and works in direct practice with young people, especially youth.
The 2014 Award recipient, Betty Ann Rousselle, graduated from the Maritime School of Social Work in 1986. Following graduation she spent seventeen years in the area of Child Protection with the Family and Children’s Services of Cumberland County. For the last eleven years, up to and including the present, she has worked with Addiction Services which is part of the Cumberland District Health Authority. Her caseload has consisted of both youth (six years) and adults (seven years).

As the first Addiction Services worker with a caseload dedicated to adolescents Ms. Rousselle built strong relationships with external agencies, services and schools in an effort to create a caring community for adolescents in the early stages of alcohol and drug dependence. With a firm commitment to her clients, she is imaginative and innovative in her approaches to helping them move forward. Barriers to treatment and/or progress are viewed as challenges to overcome and, in spite of systemic and structural road blocks that may be present, Betty Ann is both creative and flexible in assisting her clients to not only seek but find their own paths to healing.

Always ready to expand her own education and knowledge to better help her clients address their needs and issues, Betty Ann is a humble person with a self-depreciating sense of humour who is unaware of the positive impact she has had on her clients and co-workers. Recently, she has accepted responsibility for the opiate recovery program in Cumberland County to which, like all her endeavours, she will bring her knowledge, expertise and all encompassing sense of commitment.

People First, Integrity in Action and Excellence in Services are the underlying components, values and philosophy of Addiction Services. The colleague who nominated Ms. Rousselle for the Award said of her: “Betty Ann has demonstrated these values daily in her work. She has a deep respect for her clients, understands what might have led them to addiction and walks beside them as they heal …. through her caring and laughter she has a deep connection with them.” In all she does Betty Ann Rousselle truly represents the essence of the David William Connors Memorial Award and the legacy he left.



Tod Augusta-Scott MSW RSW

Recipient of the Distinguished Service Award

Augusta-Scott, MSW, RSW, is known internationally for his work with domestic violence and narrative therapy. He has spent almost 20 years as the coordinator of Bridges – a domestic violence counselling, research and training institute in Nova Scotia. He has taught at Dalhousie School of Social Work and continues to be a guest speaker at the School on a regular basis. Tod is on faculty at the Hincks Dellcrest International Training centre in Toronto .

has presented his work in every province and territory in Canada. He has created a group manual for working with men who have abused that has been officially adopted by the Departments of Justice in New Brunswick , Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories . He also works nationally as a consultant to the Canadian Forces on the issue of domestic violence. Tod has co-developed the Canadian Domestic Violence Conference and the Winds of Change Therapy Conference , which are presented every two years.

has also presented his work internationally in Asia, Europe, British Isles and North America. He has numerous academic publications. He is the co-editor and contributor to the critically acclaimed book Narrative Therapy: Making Meaning, Making Lives (Sage Publications, 2007). Along with working for other academic journals, Tod is a regular reviewer for the Journal of Systemic Therapies, Canadian Journal of Counselling, and Canadian Social Work.

Tod has created a cutting edge model of practice in the Men’s Intervention Sector in Nova Scotia. As a social worker, he applies a social justice approach to his work and is well respected in the field as an expert in Narrative Therapy. He has initiated many new approaches to working with people who have been affected by family violence and professionals in the filed highly respect him as a person and as a social worker.

His interest in Narrative Therapy has also led him to publish academically as well as participate in CBC radio documentaries on the colonial history of Atlantic Canada. Particularly, he is interested in what people choose to remember and how this influences their identities and relationships with others. Tod lives with his wife and two young children in Halifax. He enjoys playing music and sailing off the coast of Nova Scotia .


Darlene Hall, MSW, RSW

Recipient of the David William Connors Award

The Medical Social Workers of the Cape Breton District Health Authority nominate Darlene Marie Hall to receive The David William Connors Award. We believe Darlene exemplified all of the qualities this award recognizes. Darlene passed away February 18, 2013. She was the consummate social worker who made us proud to be a social worker. Caring, calm, dedicated, conscientious, authentic are words capturing semblance of who she was and there was no disconnect between who she was as a person and who she was as a professional social worker.

Twelve years as a front line social worker at the busy Northside General Hospital, Darlene more than handled what came her way. From compassionately assisting the suicidal patient in the emergency department to comforting the dying patient at the bedside and everything in between Darlene did it. She dealt with patients of all ages, gender and life strata. She was a generalist with the skill of the specialist. Assigned to a whole hospital, not just a unit, she was versed in everything. She knew the ins and outs of home care services, nursing home placements, adult protection, child welfare, income assistance, pension applications, powers of attorney and public trusteeships. She definitely could navigate the system, or more appropriately, “the systems” that impacted the lives of her patients.

Colleagues and co-workers have commented on her meticulous and well organized notes, her ability to diffuse anger during difficult family meetings, her mediating and negotiating abilities, and her aim to always empower those she assisted. She was an excellent clinician. In her unassuming way she asked the right questions in the right way. She had a way of putting people at ease. One person she helped remarked “She was my grief counsellor after the loss of my son, she was great at her job and I always looked forward to our sessions”. Another commented, “Darlene was a wonderful support to me when I was going through a difficult time with a special friend’s illness. She helped so many with her sincere compassion”. Darlene was an exceptional advocate; diligent always in ensuring patients’ needs were being met, but always respectful of those she had to approach on their behalf. Personnel from other agencies commented that even when advocating strongly she never took on a belligerent tone. Darlene worked in a busy and stressful environment with many competing and incessant demands. Nonetheless, she never became cynical or bitter. Although conscientious of the needs of the hospital where she was employed, she never wavered from her stance of being client centered.

A person of integrity with a high standard of professional conduct Darlene could be counted on to maintain the gold standard of confidentiality- even in the confines of a small community where pressures to breech it could be strong. Darlene was an active member of our District Health Authority’s Ethics Committee, canvassed for our work place United Way campaign, and volunteered on many committees set up by fellow social workers to help better the lot of her colleagues and patients. She was more than willing to lend her expertise in co-facilitating any support groups we were undertaking. In the multi-disciplinary hospital setting she worked well inter-professionally. Colleagues appreciated Darlene for her tact, good judgement, work ethic and honesty.

Graduating with a BSW and MSW from Dalhousie University, Darlene, in 1999, began her career in medical social work. Prior to coming to the Northside General she worked at Cape Breton Transition House, where her passion for helping women inspired her to become a social worker. At Transition House, Darlene held the positions of senior staff person and assistant executive director. Consistently fair and nonjudgmental is how one colleague described her. Darlene understood not only the needs of her clients but of her co-workers, as well. Darlene was part of a group who helped form the first collective bargaining union for transition house workers in the province.

Darlene was and is a role model for us all. She had remained consistently true to the values of the social work profession. This nomination is a way of honouring the legacy of Darlene; it is also a way of inspiring us to continue her good works.


Nadia Williams, MSW, RSW

Recipient of the Freda Vickery Award

On May 16 th , 2013 Nadia Williams received the Frieda Vickery Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of Social Work. Nadia was nominated by co-workers Jane Andres, Tonya Grant, Teresa Johnson, Heather Prosser, and Corrine Suave. Nadia retired from her position as the Professional Practice Chief of Social Work at the IWK Health Centre in December 2012. Nadia worked and demonstrated leadership in the public system for 33 years of practice in a variety of roles including Addictions Therapist, Prenatal Social Work, Neonatal Social Work, Director of Social Work and as the Professional Practice Chief of Social Work. Over her decades of committed social work practice Nadia was involved in several projects and leadership initiates such as the Single Parent Program, chair of the first Family Centered Care committee, Swiss Air recovery, Critical Incident Stress Management Program, H1N1 response initiative, 2009 Social Work Review, Models of Care in Nova Scotia, Choice and Partnership Approach in the Mental Health & Addictions program and the Family Integrated care project in the Neonatal intensive care unit. Nadia was also involved in numerous committees and community partnerships to promote the standards of practice of social work. Nadia is an excellent listener and she has a reputation for going above and beyond to help out community members and fellow co-workers.

These are excerpts from her letter of support from her co-workers at the IWK Health Centre: “ Throughout her career Nadia demonstrated compassion, leadership, creativity, initiative and high ethical standards both in her front line social work practice and as a social work leader in health care……… Nadia’s commitment to patients and families was unparalleled. She provided the best care in terms of social work service to patients and families struggling with life threatening illness, premature birth, prenatal complications and bereavement support. Her kind, gentle spirit was recognized as a highly developed social work skill that translated into her ability to advocate, counsel and assist patients and families in making difficult health care decisions and transitioning home…………… Nadia’s busy door was always open to social workers who sought her counsel on numerous practice issues. She conveyed a strong ethical framework of social work practice and provided social workers with a safe place to discuss their concerns. It was obvious that she also cared for staff on a personal level and understood the stressors of social work practice in a health care setting. She had the ability to listen, probe, ask the right questions and assist staff in determining the best course of action”

Nadia was not able to attend the awards presentation on May 16 th . Her partner, Brian Tapper accepted the award on her behalf. Plans will be made to celebrate with Nadia sometime over the summer months.



Robert S. Wright, RSW

The Recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award

Robert is an individual with broad experience in several fields and a growing collection of professional identities. Since September of 2010, he has been a full-time PhD student at Dalhousie University’s Sociology and Social Anthropology Department. Since August of 2011, he has been a full-time Lecturer at Mount Saint Vincent University’s Department of Child & Youth Study. Since late in 1989 Robert has maintained a small private practice in social work.

Robert is a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with experience and education in areas of Child Welfare; Education; Mediation; Child, Family and Forensic Mental Health; Cultural Competence and Corporate Leadership. He has both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Social Work, a Certificate in Divorce Mediation Theory and is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology. His current research project explores the experience and path of African Nova Scotians who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

Robert has maintained a part-time Registered Private Practice in Social Work for over 20 years. In this capacity he has provided direct clinical services to individuals, groups and families and provided clinical supervision and consulting to other clinicians and clinical teams. Robert has held a variety of clinical and administrative “day jobs” throughout his career. He has worked in education as a student support worker, school social worker and coordinator of race relations; and in child welfare as a front line social worker, casework supervisor, forensic clinician, and as an executive director. He has held notable positions as the Race Relations Coordinator of the former Dartmouth District School Board; a correctional mental health counsellor at the Washington State Penitentiary working with mentally disordered, protective custody and death row inmates; and, from May 2007 to August 2010, as the Executive Director of Nova Scotia’s Child and Youth Strategy, a comprehensive, collaborative plan to promote better outcomes for children and youth.

In addition to his community, clinical and administrative work, Robert is a compelling speaker and trainer. He has presented motivational, devotional and instructional presentations to large numbers of clients in various locations across the United States and Canada. He has been involved with a number of organizations and associations throughout his career. He has served as the president of the Nova Scotia Criminal Justice Association, is a member of the Racial Equity Committee of the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society, and a member of the Board of Directors of the North End Community Health Centre.

Robert is a family man. He comes from a large extended family that he considers a source of great strength and motivation. He is a parent of 2 children that he describes as having come to him “one by works and one by grace” (his oldest is the child of his former marriage, his youngest is adopted). Robert has also served as a foster parent and surrogate uncle for many others over the years. This is nothing new in the Wright family. Robert says he watched his mother “bring up the neighbourhood” when he was a child. Despite having retired from fostering a couple of times, his mother continues providing short term placements for children with few other options. “I guess I came by it naturally” Robert says


Christine Pynch, RSW

Recipient of the David William Connors Memorial Award

Christine is a dedicated and caring social worker who always puts the best interests of clients first. She always reminds me of what an honour it is to be able to help people.

Christine began working in the field of social work and public service in Nova Scotia over 27 years ago. In 1978, she received a Rehabilitation Services Diploma from Red Deer College in Alberta and became a Registered Social Worker in Nova Scotia during the 190’s. She began her career in Nova Scotia after returning from Calgary where she worked with children and youth with disabilities and also at Evergreen Nursing Home in Coldbrook, NS. Christine switched to working with the Municipality of Kings in the 1980`s where she also worked with people with disabilities until 1998 and then the county amalgamated with the Department of Community Services. She has been one of the main social workers working as a care coordinator for the program Services for Persons with Disabilities and has portrayed excellent client service delivery.

When I started working in the SPD Kentville office several years ago, I met so many clients who would always say to me: “Do you know Christine Pynch” and I would say, “Yes I do!” Then they would they would continue by telling me their story and how she helped them leave the most horrific situations and get them support including basic needs such as food, clothes, a job and safe housing that they could call their home. When clients speak about Christine, it is with respect and they tell me that she listened to them and their needs. I have witnessed Christine working with clients and also community organizations. She displays dignity and respect to everyone she works with in all situations. She displays “good character” and is genuine which are rare qualities found in this present day. Christine has impacted many people over the years including youth, adults, families and also seniors. She is not a person who gets caught up in materialism and sees the person first, not the disability or another check mark on the things to do for the day. She has made a positive influence on many lives during her social work career with her “out-of-the-box” thinking and continues to do so.

In our office, Christine has played a fundamental part in role modeling what it means to be a social worker. She is devoted advocate for human rights especially for clients who have disabilities which many times get forgotten in our society. She is very caring to those that need her help whether it is client or co-worker. Christine reminds us about what it is to be human when making mistakes, about being empathetic to others, and that everyone has the potential to change. She gives us hope when the rest of us can be caught in the storm

Christine also reminds us that we are there to help people in need and that it is our calling to be there to support others. Self-reflection and self- growth are important activities to Christine and she challenges us to do it in an inspiring manner. I always remember a comment she had stated to me. “We don`t stop growing at 18”.

After reflecting on her years of service as a practising social worker who has had an influential impact on people across the life span, I believe it would be an honour to present the David William Connors Memorial Award to Christine Pynch.

This tribute to Christine Pynch was made by her nominator and co-worker, Bernadette Fraser, BHE, BSW, RSW.


Elizabeth McQuaid, RSW

Recipient of the Ken Belanger Memorial Award

We have worked directly with Liz at the Addiction Prevention and Treatment Services of Capital Health for the past four years and during tat time have been struck at her ability to manage a very demanding case load as a Community Outreach Worker social worker as well as be involved in many community projects that promote and support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. She has been and continues to assist her colleagues by acting as a resource in terms of education and awareness of LBGT issues. The gentle, respectful and thoughtful approach she provides has been greatly appreciated by us.

(Elizabeth McQuaid’s nomination for the Ken Belanger Award was supported by co-worker Patrick Daigle, MSW, RSW.)

I have known Liz for the past seven years personally and professionally. My first experience with her was while chairing Halifax Pride in 2005/2006. She demonstrated leadership, acceptance and determination to promote the true meaning behind Pride. Liz would continue to do this for the next several years in many positions on the Halifax Pride committee – including co-chair on more than one occasion.

In addition to the announcements Liz brought to HRM throughout the year, via Halifax Pride she has sat on the national Fearta Pride board. Liz has taken the responsibilities that come with this position very seriously as she works to not only advance LGBT issues in her home area of Nova Scotia but nationally as well.

As Chairperson of the Youth Project and OUT Alive – a group developed to educate the LGBT community on substance use and/or gambling, which Liz and I are both very actively involved in, I have witnessed firsthand the positive role modelling Liz has shown to young people within the LGBT community and their allies. Her commitment to the Youth Project, OUT! Alive and the work she has done with the MANA for health food bank – a food bank to help those within the LGBT community struggling with HIV/AIDS, and her commitment to spirituality while involved in the Metropolitan Church during its existence in our area continue to amaze many including myself.

I am Liz’s Social Work Candidate Supervisor; she is my co-worker at Addiction Prevention and Treatment Services; a fellow volunteer within the community and a very dedicated friend. Finally, I call Liz McQuaid my role model who I have learned more than I will ever be able to give back.



Cathy Gillis, RSW

Recipient of the CASW Distinguished Service Award

Cathy Gillis exemplifies all the attributes required of a recipient of this very special honor. Significantly, she has devoted her social work career to the specialized practice of nephrology social work and has been employed full-time in this field since 1984. Over the past 26 years, she has gained invaluable expertise and experience in all areas of the nephrology program at the QEII. Cathy Gillis has demonstrated tremendous leadership throughout her career and has been a mentor to her colleagues and students over the years, as well as to all the nephrology social workers at the QEII and to many others practicing throughout Nova Scotia. She is member of the Canadian and Nova Scotia Associations of Social Workers and is a dedicated member of long-standing in the Canadian Association of Nephrology Social Workers. Cathy Gillis is a passionate advocate for kidney patients and their families. This passion informs both her practice and her service to the nephrology program, CANSW and the Kidney Foundation. She continues to be an active member of the Kidney Foundation and has served extensively at both the national and branch levels. Cathy is past president of both CANSW (1997-2000) and the Nova Scotia Branch of the Kidney Foundation.

It is especially fitting that, as Cathy begins to prepare for and anticipate retirement, other social workers will have an opportunity to recognize the extensive contributions she has made and the support she has provided to her peers and the people she serves. Cathy often says that individuals living with kidney disease are her heroes. NSCSW would like to pay tribute to Cathy, who is one of our Social Work heroes. Her colleagues, who nominated her, say: “Cathy Gillis is an esteemed colleague, an inspirational mentor, a passionate advocate and dear friend. She epitomizes the attributes and spirit of a dedicated social worker and deserves to be recognized by the CASW and NSCSW as a 2011 recipient of this award.”


Dennis Adams, RSW

The Ronald Stratford Memorial Award

Dennis Adams, RSW was nominated for the Ron Stratford Memorial Award by Andrew James Stratford, eldest son of the late Ron Stratford. He describes Dennis Adams as “his high school counsellor while I was a student at QEH and has been a very positive person in my life ever since. He is an excellent listener has been there for me since high school. He is currently the director of LOVE in Halifax (where) the work that he has been doing has been very positive and innovative and I cannot think of a more deserving person for my father’s award.“

This award is presented in memory of Ron Stratford, a dedicated social worker committed to a holistic perspective emphasizing prevention and community development. It has been awarded annually to a resident of Nova Scotia since 1983.

LOVE, refers to Leave Out ViolencE, a unique long-term violence-prevention youth program. Victims, witnesses and perpetrators of violence undertake multi-media and leadership training to develop the positive life-skills, sense of community & critical thinking that enable youth to analyze causes of, and alternatives to, violence. Through LOVE, youth see the impact they have on others: youth choose to use their voice to educate themselves, their peers and our communities (exerpt from the LOVE website).

Dennis Adams was not able to be present at the awards presentation on May 12th and plans were made to make the presentation at another appropriate time.


Ilona MacKenzie, RSW

David William Connors Memorial Award

ILONA MACKENZIE, RSW was nominated for the David William Connors Award by co-worker Marie Meagher, RSW and the following are excerpts from her letter of support. “It is with complete confidence and pleasure that I nominate Ilona MacKenzie, a co-worker and member of our Association, for the David William Connors Memorial Award. She has worked diligently for four decades providing competent social work in direct practice. Through her leadership and high ethical standards she has exemplified, to countless staff in her agency and to community colleagues, the profile of competency and professionalism as established by our Association. She inspires everyone around her with her dedication and compassion to helping the most vulnerable families in our communities and she has consistently exhibited superb intellectual and analytical skills in carrying out the responsibilities of her profession.”

Ilona has worked in direct practice at the Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia for forty-one years. Ms. Meagher goes on to support the values of the award by stating: “Ilona also parallels her career with Mr. Connors as she has worked in the interests of three generations of youth in our communities. She has spoken out when connections such as home, school or other community placements are not working for them and she very quickly asserts herself to recognizing their needs and seeking help for these individuals, either demanding that they receive proper educational assessments, increased mentorship, or changes in home environments.”

Ilona MacKenzie was not able to attend the awards presentation on May 12th and Nancy MacDonald, Exe. Dir. Family Services of Eastern NS accepted the award on her behalf.



Barry Moore, MSW

Ron Stratford Memorial Award

Barry Moore, MSW, RSW Barry Moore, MSW, RSW is the 2010 recipient of the Ron Stratford Memorial Award. Barry Moore has been employed in the field of human and social services for the past 30 years. Born in Sydney, N.S., Barry attended Sydney Academy, Xavier College and Mount Allison University before completing his Master of Social Work degree from Dalhousie University. Upon completion of his Masters, Barry was employed with Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia as the coordinator of public education, clinical social worker and later as director of the Family Life Department. He also was employed in the area of adult mental health as a clinical social worker and later as director of the Mental Health Clinic in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Barry worked as a child protection social worker as well as a director of the Sydney district office of the Children’s Aid Society of Cape Breton – Victoria before joining the teaching staff at the University College of Cape Breton where he served as a Chair of the Problem Centered Studies, interim Dean of the School of Community Studies and Student Services and continues to teach as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Problem Centered Studies.

Barry was instrumental in developing the courseware as well as teaching in the Diploma in Social Services offered through UCCB. This diploma was designed to meet the needs of students applying for a BSW degree as well as those students who are currently working in the area of social services with an undergraduate degree, but not wishing to further their education immediately following graduation.

In the past, Barry was an integral part of the UCCB / Dalhousie Social work program, allowing local students access to the program offered in Halifax. As well, he was instrumental in developing the partnership between UCCB and the Maritime School of Social Work that provided a joint Bachelor of Social Work Program for people employed in the Cape Breton area without them having to travel to Halifax. Barry was also active in the development of the Father John G. Webb Social Work Scholarship that is presented annually to a BAGS student who displays a high level of academic achievement and commitment to social work values.

Barry has sat on various boards and committees including the Board of Children’s Aid Society of Cape Breton – Victoria, Homosexuality Awareness and Research Committee (HARC), Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers, Inter-agency Committee on Family Violence, Advisory Board for Rankin Memorial School (Iona), past president of Big Brothers – Big Sisters of Cape Breton and reviewer for The Social Worker.

Through his commitment to the field of social work, Barry Moore has provided direct practice to countless clients over the past three decades. Through his commitment to the field and interest in advancing the practice, he has influenced countless students to pursue a career in social work. He continues to contribute to the field of practice through the profession of teaching and counselling students in their chosen field of practice of social work. His varied career and continued dedication makes Barry Moore a deserving recipient of the Ron Stratford Memorial Award.

(Barry Moore was nominated by his brother, Paul Moore, BACS, BSW, RSW who is a Child in Care Worker at the Children’s Aid Society of Cape Breton-Victoria.)


Wendy Street, BSW, RSW

David William Connors Memorial Award

Wendy Street, BSW, RSW is the recipient of the David William Connors Memorial Award for 2010. Wendy was nominated by two of her co-workers, Philip Patey, BSc, BSW, SWC and Kari Trethewey, BSW, SWC, who practice in the child welfare field.

Wendy meets all of the criteria for this award. She has been a front-line protection worker for over eight years and over that time, she has consistently demonstrated that she is an invaluable employee to our organization.

Wendy goes above and beyond the call of duty to meet her clients’ needs through accommodating and prioritizing families’ needs in any way possible. Wendy assists clients with their basic needs, such as transportation, as well as their emotional needs through providing time for people to tell their stories and feel heard and understood.

Wendy also demonstrates a never-ending spirit of caring, empathy, respect and dignity to co-workers as well as families that she works with. She is a very skilled advocate for others’ needs, often prioritizing her needs as less important in order to ensure that people are supported. Wendy’s role as an advocate is admired and valued within the organization. She consistently demonstrates and articulates the ability to see a person’s worth and abilities and recognizes that change is possible within families that it is often challenging to envision or that others would not necessarily see the same.

Wendy has definitely endeavored to bring about lasting change for people in hardship and focuses on the importance of family and relationships within the family system. Wendy also works diligently to support and train new workers, despite the hardship and impact that this has on her own workload. She takes on additional work responsibilities that other workers are hesitant to consider, without hesitation or question.

Wendy is a very gentle and kind person and her nature extends to beyond the realm of what is reasonably expected. Wendy is always willing to do a favor for a co-worker without the expectation of the favor being returned.

Wendy also demonstrates a never-ending spirit of caring, empathy, respect and dignity to co-workers as well as families that she works with. She is a very skilled advocate for others’ needs, often prioritizing her needs as less important in order to ensure that people are supported. Wendy’s role as an advocate is admired and valued within the organization. She consistently demonstrates and articulates the ability to see a person’s worth and abilities and recognizes that change is possible within families that it is often challenging to envision or that others would not necessarily see the same.

Wendy has definitely endeavored to bring about lasting change for people in hardship and focuses on the importance of family and relationships within the family system. Wendy also works diligently to support and train new workers, despite the hardship and impact that this has on her own workload. She takes on additional work responsibilities that other workers are hesitant to consider, without hesitation or question.

Wendy is a very gentle and kind person and her nature extends to beyond the realm of what is reasonably expected. Wendy is always willing to do a favor for a co-worker without the expectation of the favor being returned.

As a personal tribute by Wendy’s co-workers Kari Trethewey said; “It has been an honour and privilege to work side by side with Wendy over the last four years and I can say with confidence that she is the reason that the majority of workers at this organization enjoy their job and the team atmosphere that Wendy creates and supports.”

Philip Patey, spoke about Wendy as his Candidacy Supervisor: ” Wendy is the model of what a Candidacy Supervisor should be, knowledgeable, caring, comforting, aware, empathic, unassuming, strength’s focused and most of all, a friend in the truest sense of the word… I strive in the early stages of my career to follow the examples set by Wendy and take her guidance to develop my own framework from which I practice social work and strive to help those I work with meet their needs and fill the gaps in their lives in the way that Wendy has in her career and life.”


The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Project

Ken Belanger Memorial Award

The Ken Belanger Memorial Award was presented to the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Project. The group was formed in 1993 and at that time the Project consisted of two social support groups; one for young gay and bisexual men and one for young lesbian and bisexual women. Within a matter of months, the groups had grown. Some of the youth began going to schools to speak about homophobia and share their stories. The project was housed and supported by Planned Parenthood Nova Scotia. With the help of the community, the dedication of its founders, the passion of the youth and the support of Planned Parenthood the Youth Project flourished beyond its limited beginnings.

In 1996, the Youth Project were the Parade Marshalls for the Halifax Pride Parade.

In 1998, the Youth Project would receive operational funding for the first time from Health Canada. The Youth Project along with three other groups in Canada: Montreal, Moncton and Kamloops were funded under a project called Safe Spaces aimed at increasing supports for LGBT youth in Canada. This funding brought the Youth Project staff and a promotions budget. Services increased from social support groups and some workshops to counselling and a full time education program aimed at schools, community groups and professionals. Also in 1998, the Youth Project hosted a conference for students who wanted to start Gay Straight Alliances, leading to the first GSA in Nova Scotia at Millwood High School.

In 1999 & 2000, thanks to Health Canada, the Youth Project took an historic trip to Montreal Pride. Moncton, Montreal and the Youth Project joined together for five days of fun and festivities. In the winter, Moncton, PEI and the Youth Project joined together for a weekend of skiing.

In 2001, the Youth Project received funding from the United Way of Halifax Region. A relationship that remains strong today. The Youth Project would later receive the United Way’s Community Spirit Award as well as Human Rights Award.

In 2002, the Youth Project became its own organization, leaving the protective wing of Planned Parenthood and flying out on its own. In order to maintain the strong youth focus, the Youth Board was created as part of our structure. The Youth Project became an independent non-profit charity run by two boards. Also in 2002, the Youth Project received a grant from Human Resources and Development Canada to purchase a house. This would become the Youth Project’s permanent home. And finally in 2002, the Youth Project received funding from the Nova Scotia Department of Health, which would later be picked up by the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection.

In 2008, the Youth Board voted to remove lesbian, gay and bisexual from the front of the organization’s name. This was in response to the fact that transgender was not in the name and that there were many other youth who identified with other labels. Instead of making the name longer, they voted to make it shorter, becoming The Youth Project, working with youth around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Youth Project is now a multiservice organization with four staff members and has many events and programs occurring throughout Nova Scotia.

The Youth Project provides supportive counselling for youth who want to talk to someone about sexual orientation or gender identity. Their support coordinator is available to listen, provide information and help youth get more support. They can provide support to families as well. If you want to get some questions answered, are experiencing harassment, are confused about who you are, about coming out, need help, or just want to talk, they are there.

The Youth Project provides weekly programs which are relevant, dynamic and innovative. This support allows LGBT youth to feel supported, connected and safe.

The Project offers excellent materials for youth, families and caring adults and professionals.

The project has packages full of articles, information, and pamphlets available for:

Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth
Transgender youth
Parents of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth
Parents of transgender youth
Multicultural information
Social workers, guidance counsellors, youth workers, etc.
This is just a brief overview of the support and services offered by The Youth Project which can be found on their website ( http://www.youthproject.ns.ca/ ). Like Ken Belanger, they have dedicated themselves to being a powerful presence in the lives of LGBT individuals.

The Youth Project has, and continues to play an essential and life transforming role within our community.

The Youth Project was nominated for the Ken Belanger Memorial Award by Timothy Crooks, BSW, RSW, Executive Director of Phoenix Youth Programs.

(Much of the preceding information comes directly from The Youth Project website)