Meet the nominees and winners of this year’s Stittsville appreciation awards

(via Councillor Shad Qadri)

The eight annual Stittsville Appreciation Awards were announced on Tuesday evening.  The awards highlight remarkable community builders and the spirit of volunteerism. Councillor Qadri’s office received 35 nominations among the four categories.

“It is a privilege to have so many dedicated members of our community serve as examples for us all, along with residents who have taken the time to express their appreciation by nominating a deserving individual,” he said.


This award is named for Roger Griffiths, a former Goulbourn Township Councillor, president of the Stittsville Legion, and Captain of the Stittsville Fire Department.

 Joanne Ilkiw (winner) 

  • Joanne is Director of Inventory at the Stittsville Food Bank. A dedicated volunteer, she has transformed the Food Bank into a shining example for other
  • She has trained and managed a team of volunteers and is responsible for keeping the food bank stocked and organized
  • A role model for volunteers with a learn-by-example approach, she sets the example through hard work, dedication and determination.


Joel Barrette
Joel’s tireless dedication has improved the quality of life in our community for people of all ages. He has been involved with the school parent council at Jean Paul II, coached youth girls’ hockey teams for the Kanata Rangers Girls’ Hockey Association and helped to run the Breakfast Club pick-up hockey league for over 250 men and women of Stittsville since 2009. In 2012, he founded the 24 Hours of Hockey for Wishes campaign which promotes positive citizen development and voluntary action among residents with all proceeds (over $100,000 to date) going to Make a Wish and Tysen’s Mission to a Million to make a difference in the lives of children in our community.He is a role model for not only giving back t the community and inspiring others to do so but also for making real sacrifices for the greater good of Stittsville.


Jan Campbell and Jordan McNichols
Dubbed the Stittsville Cupcake Fairies, these two heroins have taken it upon themselves to brighten up the day of deserving ladies all over the community with their fairy magic. When a post on social media indicates a need for a pick-me-up, the cupcake fairies never fail to make a post-haste.This past Easter, the ladies delivered over 300 cupcakes to families all over the community, showcasing just what generosity looks like in Stittsville.

Sean Convey
Sean has been recognized for his exemplary work with the Ottawa Police and his ability to go the extra mile with residents. To Sean, the end of the day comes not when it is time to punch out but when there is no more work to be done in the community. In times of stress like a snowstorm when people simply want to get home, he will stop to check in on residents in need out of sheer concern.

Cindy Fiorenza

 Cindy has worked tirelessly for minor hockey in Stittsville, volunteering countless hours over the last 6 years. She has raised thousands of dollars for minor hockey players while planning events for both away and home tournaments, Christmas parties for the teams, team building events and supplying. Her hard work and perseverance has inspired many children and their parents to be their best for the sheer recognitions of their smiling faces at the end of each season.

Glen Gower
Glen’s leadership role in Stittsville is well documented, most notably through his work on the Fairwinds Community Association and as founder of He has taken on an investigative and activist role in the community in efforts such as those rallying support for the Bradley-Craig barn. He is seen by many as a force for good and social conscious for this community and its history, inspiring others to take action and serve as well.

Tanya Hein
Tanya has held many roles with the Stittsville Village Association including secretary, director-at- large and president. For many years, she has been dedicates to building community in the Stittsville area through countless community events like Canada Day, the Parade of Lights, Villagefest, and Arts in the Park. She works diligently in the background, bringing unity and involvement among SVA members and the entire community with her kind and generous nature

James McConnell
James has been a resident of Stittsville for 24 years whose community participation has included helping at community events like Canada Day, Villagefest, Parade of Lights and Winterfest. He has been the caretaker of the Ralph Park Rink for 20 years, responsible for taking down and putting up the boards, repairs, and rink maintenance. Always ready to give a helping hand at any time, his involvement has been well noticed as a great asset to the Stittsville

Theresa Qadri
Theresa is currently the chair of the Stittsville Food Bank, spending hours meeting donors, serving clients and arranging food items. Past-president of the Rotary Club of Ottawa-Stittsville, she was instrumental in facilitating the development of the Rotary Peace Park and labyrinth at Bell Park. She played a vital role in organizing a day honouring the achievements of local women and working as director of the Stittsville Village Association, for years she was the driving force behind the organization of Stittsville’s Canada Day celebrations.

Tim Sheehan
Tim has been an integral part of the Hockey community for many years, volunteering with the Stittsville minor hockey association and as the Association president for the last 2 years. What makes his efforts so recognizable is his concern and support for the entire community, helping players who otherwise would not be playing to get on the ice with the Christopher Gleeson Bursary and The Rory Bradley award. Year after year, Tim has rallied volunteers for Stittsville food bank drives, snow suit collections, fundraising events for families in need, the parade of lights, and Do it for Daron to name a few and played a large part in getting Stittsville nominated for Kraft Hockeyville in support for upgrades to the Johnny Leroux Arena.


Ella Sultan (winner)
Kind, thoughtful, generous, conscientious, noble, sensitive, caring and keen to support and give to those around her are the words best used to describe Ella. At only 9 years old, Ella has undertaken many activities that have helped make Stittsville a better place to live such as helping to organize the Food Bank’s Christmas Hamper campaign at Stittsville Public, supporting 31 families in need over 2 years. She even diligently ran her own lemonade stand for an entire summer, donating the proceeds to the Food Bank. She helps her father, bakes for her neighbours, cleans up her neighbourhood, creates care- packages for Syrian refugees, donates her clothing and toys to those in need, and is a member of the Stittsville Guides.She embodies Stittsville spirit by motivating everyone around her want to help others.

Jessica Dassanayake
Jessica is the elected co-president of Sacred Heart High school’s student council, demonstrating her extraordinary leadership qualities by devoting her time to making the school a better place. She has planned and organized several events including grad Oscars, grad auction, and spirit weeks and assemblies. Jessica is also an active member of the community outside of the school; she is a member of the Holy Spirit Parish frequently reading at masses as is always quick to lend a hand to support community charities like “Sleep Out for Youth” raising money for homeless youth in Ottawa and Tysen’s Mission to a Million in which she helped her school raise over $600 towards.

Danika Gareau
Danika is an active member of her school community presently attending Sacred Heart. Between her involvement with sports teams, clubs, school plays, and choir, she still makes time for others. Danika helps out with Free the Children, generously giving her time and passion and is always available in and out of the classroom.

Joey Holroyd
Joey is a dedicated, conscientious and hardworking volunteer for the Stittsville Food Bank. Originally starting as a fulfillment of his school community service hours, he has long since exceeded his requirement and now works for the sole purpose of helping out. He is consistently proactive with helping in the stock room and has patiently educated other young volunteers to follow his lead by setting a wonderful example for not only other students but for all residents of community.

Michael Meehan
Michael is a young Stittsville resident who was first diagnosed with leukemia in January 2013. His cancer was deemed in remission early in 2015 before resurfacing in a routine blood test last October. After more treatment without results, he was directed to a new treatment being offered in Montreal as Michael’s family, friends and community rallied with support. Now, I am happy to report that Michael is once again in remission. To celebrate, he and his family and friends will be participating their third CN Cycle for CHEO as a way of thanking the oncology doctors at CHEO for their support.

Emily Mount
Emily is a Grade 12 student at Sacred Heart, actively involved with student council since Grade 9. She was selected as Minister of Spirit this year, where she took a responsibility of running many spirit events and organizing the Sacred Heart’s Youth Services Bureau Sleep Out team. She’s an extremely supportive friend, an extremely hardworking student, and works tirelessly to achieve the best she can. As such, she is seen as a peer example by many.


Phil Sweetnam (winner)
Phil has an extensive list of contributions to the community which showcase his concern for Stittsville ranging from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society to Stittsville United Church. He is a charter member for the Goulbourn Museum’s board of directors out of an interest to share the community’s rich past with his fellow citizens and provided a formidable business point of view on many aspects discussed in the Stittsville Village Association. Additionally, his family has offered bursaries for several years to the two local high schools for graduating students going on to university for engineering and other fields of study, once again showing that his support and advice for issues in Stittsville and Ottawa are unwavering.

Monetta Ayotte
At 88 years of age, Monetta goes above and beyond. The Knotty Knitters club, which she formed at her retirement residence, now has over 20 members and knits stints, sleeves, and baby hats for hospitals. A new member of the Stittsville Legion, Monetta is a wonderful woman who encourages those around her at the Stittsville Villa to take part in social events.

Ross Connor
Ross is a long time resident of Amberwood who has contributed to developing and maintaining a much-admired Oriental-themed garden just east of Springbrook Drive. The garden has brought pleasure to many sets of eyes over the years and was even one of the stops on the Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society garden tour last year. Ross is an accomplished painter whose works were on display in the former restaurant at the Amberwood Village Golf and Country Club. Building on these successes, this past December, his garden area featured an extensive Christmas light display to brighten up the community, showing that it is within the power of anyone to shine their lights to make Stittsville a little more colourful.

Beth Lewis
Beth has been a tremendous volunteer in Stittsville for many years. As a Lion, she worked on teaching people about white cane day and spoke to schools about the blind. She collects food at the Parade of Lights, collects electronics on electronics day and helps kids apply their removable tattoos on Canada Day all while finding time for other projects like fundraising for Hospice, putting in a basketball court at the arena and selling daffodils for cancer research. Her efforts to make our community better are extensive and her strong, compassionate, and caring attitude is what motivates others to do the same.


Jo-Jo’s Pizzeria (winner)
The Kassis Family has operated Jo-Jo’s for over 20 years, producing the smell of high quality pizza for all of Stittsville Main. Over these years, the business has become heavily invested in community initiatives, sponsoring over 70 local sports teams, donating pizza parties, and donating proceeds from pizza-making workshops to local charities. It has become a beloved community employer, hiring on many local high school students who, more often than not, grow up to have families of their own and stop by for a slice.

Creative Edge Dance Academy (Caroleen Harding)
“Miss” Caroleen (as her students would call her) took over the studio late last August, giving 36 students a place to continue their dance. At just 19 years old, she runs her studio, choreographs, and follows up with parents all while being an amazing leader to her teams of instructors and students. She treats her children with respect and a positive atmosphere, pushing them to earn high marks in competition all with smiles on their faces.

The Grounds Café
The Grounds Cafe is the most recent addition to Stittsville on this year’s nomination list, opening in March of 2016. Becoming a social hub for everything from the ladies in the knitting club to the hardy group in the running club and even facebook’s favourite “Stittsville Moms” group, it appeals to everyone young and old. Between the beautiful decor, home style fresh food, high end tea selection and their willingness to jump in on community events like the local Easter Egg hunt (while donating free coffee in community spirit), it is no surprise that it has been so well received by local patrons.

Kumon (Merilee and John Clarke)
Kumon is an academic enrichment program that helps children actively develop critical thinking skills through carefully crafted curriculum. With a strong educational background and excellent leadership, Merilee and John go above and beyond to improve the academics of hundreds of Stittsville students. They have volunteered within the community at events like the Stittsville Family Fun Day, raising money for Tysen Lefebvre’s “Mission to a Million” and make Stittsville a better place to live by creating the future leaders of our community.

The Open Door Educational Services (Heather Desjardins)
Heather left a secure, fulltime teaching position as a resource teacher to help more people. Specializing in dyslexia, Heather helps many families to learn about dyslexia, volunteering hours of her time to provide free counsel to anyone who reaches out to her.She teaches and helps others to teach as well, demonstrating a passion and spirit that motivates all clients to succeed and read.

Quitters Coffee
Quitters Coffee has become a community gathering place for Stittsville. Through small acts that foster the relationship with their customers like learning one’s drink order or getting to know them on a personal level, Quitters has become a regular stop for many in the community. Over the Christmas holidays, they supported Chrysalis House, a shelter for female abuse-victims by collecting more than $500, gift cards, clothing, children’s gifts and more.

U-Rock Music School (Cathy Hallessey)
U-Rock Musical School is committed to bringing music into the lives of Stittsville children and teens. Cathy devotes her life to teaching music supporting students not only through lessons but in developing their self-esteem and confidence. Last year, U-rock started a fund offering free music lessons to local children who couldn’t afford private lessons all in the spirit of giving back to others for the love of music.


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