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Empowered Kids Ontario announces 2023 Tribute Award recipients

April 12, 2023

TORONTO April 13, 2023 - Empowered Kids Ontario (EKO) recognized nine of the province’s most outstanding individuals for their achievements on behalf of kids with disabilities and their families at the EKO 2023 Spring Symposium in Toronto. Tribute Award recipients include a teen advocate for inclusivity who models the latest fashions at prestigious runways shows, clinicians and leaders who are introducing innovations and changing practice for kids in Ontario and around the world, and a former Canadian Senator dedicated to making this country a leader for people with autism. The Tribute Award of Excellence was presented posthumously to Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor David Onley, whose life, work and legacy continues advance how we address accessibility and inclusion.

“All of the wonderful people we are honoring with this year’s EKO Tribute Awards are leaders and role models, taking the field of child development and pediatric rehabilitation forward,” says Tom Walters, EKO chair. “Some are known for their work locally, others on a provincial, national and even global scale. Each has distinguished themself in their innovation and their commitment to kids with disabilities and their families, to equity and access. We congratulate each of our Tribute Award recipients and we are grateful for their many contributions.”

EKO represents Ontario’s publicly funded child development and rehabilitation sector. The association promotes evidence-based investments, policies and programs enabling smart, innovative approaches and service delivery so kids with disabilities and their families live their best lives.

The Tribute Awards are EKO’s oldest and most prestigious recognition, presented to individuals, teams and organizations that have made lasting contributions for kids with disabilities and their families. A uniquely Ontario award, EKO Tribute Award recipients are leading social change, and forging partnerships that advance clinical outcomes and services in ways that defy expectations. Tribute Award recipients are nominated by their colleagues, partners and champions of those being honoured.

“We appreciate all who are improving the world for kids with disabilities and their families,” says Jennifer Churchill, CEO of EKO. “The Tribute Awards enable us to celebrate people who are advocates, trailblazers, partners and champions—those who best exemplify the values of belonging, connection, community and leading the way.”

EKO Tribute Award are presented in four categories. The 2023 Tribute Award recipients are:

Tribute Award for Excellence: Hon. David Onley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and journalist. This is a posthumous award; Mr. Onley died Jan. 24, 2023.

Tribute Award for Leadership: Dr. Nicola Jones-Stokreef, Developmental Paediatrician, Orillia, Ontario

Tribute Award for Leadership: Liviya Mendelsohn, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence

Tribute Award for Leadership: Dr. Ripudaman Minhas, Developmental Paediatrician, St. Michael’s Hospital/Unity Health Toronto, Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto

Tribute Award for Advocacy: Louise Kinross, editor, BLOOM Magazine, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Tribute Award for Advocacy: Senator (Retired) Jim Munson, Senate of Canada

Tribute Award for Advocacy: Monika Myers, model and Youth Day Global Down Syndrome Ambassador

Tribute Award for Partnership: Elizabeth Gunner, Community Relations Coordinator, Omushkego Education, Moose Factory, Ontario

Tribute Award for Partnership: Rachel Teplicky, Business and Engagement Officer, CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability

Congratulations to the EKO 2023 Tribute Award recipients.

Read more about the EKO Tribute Awards.

Tribute Award recipients
Tribute Award recipients (left to right): Senator Jim Munson, Ginette Munson, Ruth Ann Onley, Liv Mendelsohn, EKO CEO Jennifer Churchill, The Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Dr. Ripudaman Mihas, Monika Myers, Lorne Coe-MPP Whitby, Rachel Teplicky, EKO Chair Tom Walters, Elizabeth Gunner, Dr. Nicky Jones-Stokreef


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