Presented to five individuals who have gone above and beyond to support their communities during the pandemic.
Asit Sarkar has promoted diversity and inclusion in the Saskatoon community in numerous ways. He set up a fund at the Saskatoon Community Foundation to support inclusiveness in all aspects of Saskatoon‘s community engagement, and as a member of the Saskatoon Immigration Partnership Council he integrated those principles into the Saskatoon Partnership’s Strategic Plan. From his seat on the Advisory Board for the the Saskatoon Open Door Society’s Women’s Business Hub, he has developed new community connections for the WBH, and with the onset of COVID-19 he was instrumental in mounting its Face Mask Project. As a Nutana Rotary member, he worked with the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre to facilitate engagement of Newcomer youth with their peers in the Indigenous community, an effort extended with the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan’s BRIDGES Program to include Indigenous, Newcomer and ethnocultural youth.
Delano Kennedy leads the Okihtcitawak Patrol Group, a group of Indigenous volunteers who patrol the Pleasant Hill and Riversdale neighborhoods of Saskatoon and hand out donated food, water, and winter clothing, pick up discarded needles, report suspicious activity and vehicles, and connect those in need of assistance with resources and services. Under Delano’s leadership, the patrol group strives to do its part in protecting the most vulnerable, building productive relationships, and making a positive impact with its work in the community.
Phuong Uyen Huynh
Uyen (Winn) began her mask-making journey in March 2020 when the pandemic was first taking hold by sewing cloth masks for her friends and family. Then, with her mother, she began sewing additional masks for frontline service workers, such as transit operators and grocery store staff, as well as vulnerable populations in Saskatoon. The team grew and eventually expanded to providing masks for various not-for-profits, shelters, and communities in need. To date, Uyen (Winn) and her small group of volunteers have sewn over 8,000 cloth face masks and distributed them across Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Ontario, and she has worked with volunteers in her home country of Vietnam to distribute masks there, as well. Through her efforts, Uyen demonstrates a powerful personal commitment to helping the community cope with COVID-19.
Sarah Cochran Smokeyday
Sarah Cochran Smokeyday is the Chair of the Board for the Saskatoon Mother’s Centre, an organization dedicated to empowering socially isolated at-risk mothers from low-income backgrounds. The pandemic and the loss of a meeting space encouraged Sarah to envision new ways to fundraise and to help vulnerable new mothers. She has acted as the main contact for emergency calls from women in need of assistance, and has selflessly provided support, guidance, and safety in times of crisis. Her own home has become a hub for the distribution of much-needed items such as diapers and sanitary napkins for new mothers. Her strong affiliations with the Saskatchewan Tribal Council have been a valuable asset in building new networking and support strategies, and through hosting Thursday night “Craft and Chat” sessions with mothers over Zoom she offers support and encouragement in a virtual environment. Sarah demonstrates devotion, commitment, and compassion for both Indigenous and Newcomer mothers.
Zainab is Team Leader of the Saskatoon Open Door Society’s Resettlement Assistance Program, which helps Government-Assisted Refugees who are newly arrived in Saskatoon by providing them with essential initial settlement and support services. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Zainab and her staff, the program has been able to adapt to the changing conditions of the pandemic. The team continues to welcome refugees arriving at the Saskatoon airport, provide orientation and interpretation services to help newcomers understand provincial pandemic restrictions, and find temporary accommodations for the 14-day isolation period, all while ensuring that pandemic safety protocols are rigorously observed.