Service course wins Community Innovation award

Western’s Gerontology in Practice course was honoured recently at the 6th annual Pillar Community Innovation Awards at the London Convention Centre.

The awards celebrate businesses and government organizations, individuals and nonprofits/charities whose initiative makes London a better place. In addition to a one-of-a-kind, custom-designed award, created by local artist Ryan Mahy at ArtFusion, recipients receive $2,500 directed to the registered charity of their choice.

Representing the Community Collaboration category, the course, facilitated by The Student Success Centre and the Faculty of Health Sciences, allows a small group of Health Sciences students to work alongside community partners on projects targeting issues for the community’s aging population. Armed with their academic knowledge, students identify the factors behind the issues, critically evaluate available solutions and come up with proposals to advocate for change.

Students work collaboratively with 10 local organizations in order to offer fresh perspectives on the support the organizations provide to their clients. Many of the partnerships result in practical, beneficial changes for the organizations and, ultimately, the aging population.

Other Community Innovation Award winners included Art for AIDS International in the Community Innovation category; Will Graham in the Community Leadership category; and London Intercommunity Health Centre in the Community Impact category.

“Learning about the accomplishments of so many individuals, businesses and organizations within the community was truly inspirational. Selecting only 12 finalists was made particularly challenging by the top-notch quality of the nominees,” said Sheila Simpson, Selection Committee chair. “We are thrilled to announce this year’s award recipients.”

With more than 300 members, Pillar Nonprofit Network is a voice for the nonprofit sector. Supporting nonprofit organizations in fulfilling their missions in our community, it provides leadership, advocacy and support to the nonprofit sector through the promotion of volunteerism, professional development and networking opportunities, and information sharing.