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Borough of CDN—NDG names five Outstanding Citizens

10 juin 2013

Montréal, le 10 juin 2013 - Recently on June 6 at its annual Outstanding Citizen Awards Gala held in the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, the Borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN—NDG) highlighted the community involvement and outstanding achievements of five persons who are making a tangible difference in their community. James F. Olwell, Dr. Vania Jimenez, Sima Paris, Dr. Gilles Julien and Paul Cargnello all received the title of Outstanding Citizen, the highest honorary distinction awarded by the Borough of CDN—NDG.

The evening is held as an opportunity to celebrate persons and organizations deserving of recognition by their peers for their contribution, whatever their field of endeavour, in helping their community to develop and flourish. As part of this event, the Borough also pays tribute to its recent retirees, thanking them for their years of service.

“For the fourth consecutive year we have honoured citizens who all share the same heartfelt desire—to improve quality of life in CDN—NDG. These are our ambassadors, whose achievements reflect on us all,” declared Borough Mayor Lionel Perez.

The members of the jury specifically commented on the high quality of the candidates submitted for this fourth annual Outstanding Citizen Awards. In their examination of the submissions, they noted the wealth of diversity, commitment and generosity of people living and working in the Borough. Selection of laureates was not an easy task, and the jury considers it important to highlight the invaluable contribution made to the CDN—NDG community by all the candidates.

2013 laureates

James F. Olwell has dedicated his career to social justice, and has worked toward this end for 20 years in the Borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. In addition to holding the position of community organizer at CSSS Cavendish, he has applied body and soul toward the creation of several round tables in NDG, and is actively involved in many neighborhood organizations. He is dedicated to his community and recognized for his determination and leadership. Much of the dynamic atmosphere of collaboration present in NDG today is a result of his efforts.

Dr. Vania Jimenez's contribution to the well-being of CDN—NDG families is without measure. A person of compassion and reason, she is co-founder of La Maison Bleue, a non-profit organization offering social services for the perinatal period to women who are expecting and living in situations of vulnerability, and also to their families. Dr. Jimenez has a consuming interest in what the various cultural groups bring to the community, and her multiethnic clientele in the Borough remains for her an abiding source of contemplation, research and learning.

In 2001 Sima Paris in collaboration with her husband founded The Friendship Circle, an organization providing disabled children with opportunities for relief from isolation and to have a friend. Ms. Paris' devotion to her community is such that the area's parents know they can rely on her at any time: she is personally committed to and unstoppable in fulfilling families' needs in this regard.

Dr. Gilles Julien has been professionally active in the Côte-des-Neiges area since 1990, founding there in 2003 the Centre de services préventifs à l'enfance. Well beyond the role of a traditional paediatrician, he embraced a mission of enabling children from vulnerable environments to thrive and develop to their full potential. Recognized as the father of community social paediatrics, he developed a preventive approach ensuring that the fundamental rights of children are respected. Established in 2005, La Fondation du Dr Julien ensures that the work of this committed visionary will continue.

A native of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Paul Cargnello is a dedicated community organizer and established musician. He quickly made a name for himself on the Montreal scene as an exceptional guitarist and author/composer/interpreter. In parallel with his artistic career, he is involved in several social struggles and is highly engaged in the community. He has been the chief organizer of the NDG Arts Week since 2010, an event that highlights the unique, creative pulse of the CDN—NDG community, and that facilitates the use of art as a tool for social integration.

Jury members
The Outstanding Citizens of 2013 were selected by an independent jury presided by Manon Gauthier, until recently the Director General of the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. The other members of the jury, all actively involved in the CDN—NDG community, are Lucien Fortin, Michael Crelinsten, Marlene Jennings and Catherine Thibault.

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