The Government of Canada’s Volunteer Awards recognize community leaders, not-for-profit organizations, social enterprises and businesses that have made significant contributions to improving the lives of others.
One of those awards now resides in Yellowknife.
Sudhir Jha was named as the winner for British Columbia and the North in the community leader category at a ceremony in Ottawa on Dec. 5. Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development was on hand to present the award to Jha and the other winners.
“My goal has always been to help improve quality of life for everyone in the North, whether that is through mentorship and education, donations of food, clothing, and technology, or sharing my skills and expertise,” Jha told Yellowknifer on Wednesday in speaking about the honour.
Jha said he has been doing volunteer work more than 20 years in Yellowknife and other Northern communities.
When it comes to supporting residents of Yellowknife, Jha said he volunteered to organize STEM activities to promote science and technology among youth, mentoring new immigrants and helping them integrated into Canadian society, donating computers to schools, supporting local fundraising for Canadian Red Cross and other organizations and more.
He also said he likes to be a “hands-on” volunteer.
“I sit on several boards, but my daughter and I also created and mailed care packages for people in communities severely affected by COVID-19, and I participate in one-to-one mentoring and help new Canadians and refugees create resumés and connect with the job market, etc.,” he said.
In addition to that, Jha also sits on the board of many non-profit organizations, including Skills Canada NWT, a local integration office for new Canadians, Smart Communities Society/Computers for Schools, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists, Engineers Canada and the Canadian Engineering Qualification Board.
Award recipients were assessed based on six criteria: role, impact, reach, engagement, challenges, and inspiration.
The Government of Canada provided a $5,000 grant to be given to the non-profit or charity of each winner’s choice. Jha and his family have decided to give that money to the Yellowknife Food Bank.
Jha said that volunteering has enriched his life as well as his family, and he is proud of what his volunteer work has helped to accomplish.
He wants to keep volunteering as much as he can in the future, and wants to encourage others to do the same.