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(Updated 6:30 p.m., Feb. 28)
Local residents receive Global Community Alliance awards

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Marilyn Wall poses for a picture with her husband Patrick after receiving a Global Community Alliance award for community service. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Global Community Alliance held its 7th annual Gala and Award Ceremony on Saturday with several east end residents among the honorees.

The GCA was formed in 2010 by Orléans resident Yomi Pratt and his wife Kelly to recognize the extra-ordinary accomplishments of otherwise ordinary residents in celebration of Black History Month.

This year's awards had a distinctive local flavour with no fewer than seven of the 13 recipients having roots in the east end.

Avalon resident Marilyn Wall was recognized for her work as a foster parent and mentor, trainer and devoted advocate for the Children's Aid Society.

Since 1993, Marilyn and her husband Patrick have opened their home to more than a dozen children. Four of those children remained with the Walls into their 20s and all four of them have gone on to earn their bachelor degrees.

At various times Marilyn has served as president of the Ottawa Foster Parents Association and the Foster Parent Society of Ontario, second vice-president of the Canadian Foster Family Association, and as a board member of the Ottawa Children's Aid Society and the Champion for Children Foundation of Ottawa.

Dr. Thadee Muboyayi first came to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the mid-80s. After earning a doctorate in medical dentistry in 1995, he moved to Orléans where he established a private dental practice.

In the 20 years since, he's moved into his own building on Innes Road which he shares with other medical professionals and lawyers. In 2011, he contributed to the construction of a secondary school in his native Congo.

Geraldine Dixon is a local businesswoman who received an award for the work she's done in supporting military families through the "Support Our Troops" car flag initiative. She also collected hundreds of signatures in a large "Support Our Troops" flag that flew over the Canadian base at Kandahar.

Awards were also presented to four area high school students in the Youth Achievement category. The recipients were Cassandra Rousseau from St. Peter High School, Kikachukwu "Kika" Otiono from Colonel By Secondary School, and Samantha Momy and Alison Pratt from Lester B. Pearson High School.

The gala awards presentation was held at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel and featured performances by vocalist Travis Chamberlain and the Araguaney Dance Group along with a dissertation on the essence of community building by keynote speaker James Carty.

According to organizer Yomi Pratt, the awards continue to be an important part of Ottawa's Black History Month calendar because of the emphasis they place on celebrating diversity.

"You know, the awards are nice, but the most important aspect of this event is in bringing members of different communities together," says Pratt. "And The best way to get to know each is to interact."

Because of the success of this year's sold out gala, they Pratts were able to present a cheque for $750 to the Dominica Relief Fund. The small Caribbean island was devastated by Tropical Storm Erika last August.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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