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  • News
  • March 08, 2016

Scarborough-Guildwood Honours 7 Exceptional Women and Girls

Recipients Announced for Ontario’s Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Communities Awards

Ontario is celebrating International Women’s Week by recognizing 7 women and girls in Scarborough-Guildwood for their leadership in improving the lives of others in our community.

In its 11th year, Ontario’s Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Communities Awards have recognized more than 745 exceptional women and girls across the province who have demonstrated leadership and improved the lives of others through their work, activism or volunteer activities.

This year’s recipients from Scarborough-Guildwood are:

  • Maye Water: She has demonstrated remarkable contributions in encouraging and supporting youth, particularly young women. She has also made significant contribution as the President of the Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough Youth Council. Her involvement in BOLD (Beautiful Outstanding Ladies with Dreams) further underscores her commitment to empowering young women to become future leaders themselves.


  • Arifah Yusuf: She has made notable contributions towards Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park community. Her efforts at Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities and the EMERGE mental health project have done so much to advance the well-being of residents. Her dedication to the community is also evident in her volunteer work with the Community Health Action Team, the East Scarborough Storefront and the Lifted by Purpose, which she founded herself. She is a dedicated leader for social change and a role model for others.


  • Dania Javed: Her outstanding efforts to empower youth and promote a culture of peace and justice have been noted through her involvement with Pathways to Education, YOUCAN, the Ontario Justice Education Network, Transitional Opportunity Program for students, and YouthLink. She balances this dedication to volunteerism with excellence in academics, serving as a role model for her peers.


  • Charis Kelso: She has been the driving force at the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute in a wide range of activities that engage students in their world, such as Me to We – Free the Children, clothing drives for Syrian refugees, and Race for Dignity. Her passion for local and global citizenship has inspired countless students. Her efforts empower young people to lead their own change.


  • Lynda Kosowan: As the Scarborough Women Center’s Executive Director for the past 30 years, she has improved the lives of countless women and children. Her leadership and lifelong commitment to helping women and girls live free from violence, abuse and oppression have resulted in many innovative programs that make communities safe for everyone. Her tireless efforts have enriched many lives.


  • Sidra Jafri: Her involvement in promoting physical and emotional well-being is commendable. As a volunteer at YWCA, she promotes gender equity and social justice through the Girls’ and Family Program. She has provided important input through the Pathways to Education program on topics such as mental health, body image and self-esteem.


  • Darlene Watman: Her efforts at the YWCA Employment Centre have helped women find opportunities for work, education, and civic engagement. This has had a profound impact on the success of many women who have felt marginalized and disadvantaged. Her volunteer work with groups involved in community development is further evidence of how she is deeply dedicated to helping women change their lives for the better.


Celebrating the achievements of women and girls is part of the government's four-part plan to build Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.


“These extraordinary women and girls have demonstrated leadership in fostering positive changes within their communities. I thank each and every one of them for continuing to be an inspiration to us all.”

—Mitzie Hunter, MPP Scarborough-Guildwood


“International Women’s Week invites us to recognize and celebrate the important contributions women and girls make to their communities. The women and girls honoured this year are role models, mentors and shining examples of the real impact one person can make in creating a stronger and fairer Ontario for all.”

— Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues



  • March 8 has been recognized as International Women’s Day around the world since 1977. The annual celebration highlights women’s economic, political and social achievements.
  • The Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Communities Recognition Program honours girls under the age of 18 and women 18 years and older.
  • Since its launch in 2006, more than 745 women and girls across Ontario have been recognized for their community leadership contributions.



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