RICHMOND NEWS- 2 Richmond nominees for YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

Kirsten Clarke, Richmond News

2022/03/08

Since 1984, the YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards have honoured individuals and organizations for their contributions to the well-being and future of the community

[Full article on The Richmond News] Two Richmond women have been nominated for this year’s YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards.

Richmond’s Norah Flaherty, an inclusive workforce consultant and Vedanshi Vala, co-founder and executive director of BOLT Safety Society are among the 75 nominees for the awards, now in their 39th year.

Flaherty, who is nominated under the community champion category, has worked for more than two decades to ensure individuals with disabilities have the best possible access to social services, education, employment and social connectivity.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, she was also part of a multi-stakeholder “disability alliance group” that helped gain early access to vaccines for people with disabilities.

Since 2014, she has chaired the Registered Disability Savings Plan Action Group, a position she was appointed to by the BC Ministry of Social Development.

Vala is nominated under the Young Women of Distinction. She co-founded BOLT Safety Society, a not-for-profit which provides free access to safety and self-defense tutorials and information on local services for survivors of violence and abuse.

Vala also launched the Safe Buddies Program, in response to the growing number of Asian hate crimes and reports of stalking, to help women, non-binary folks and seniors get home safely. She also launched a “Safe Hubs” partnership with local businesses that provides safe places where victims of domestic violence can seek temporary refuge.

Since 1984, the Women of Distinction Awards have honoured individuals and organizations for their contributions to the well-being and future of the community. Since then, 340 award recipients and 2,025 nominees have been recognized.

This year’s awards gala will be held at the JW Marriott Parq Hotel in Vancouver on May 26, with tickets set to go on sale soon.

In addition to the 12 nomination categories this year, nominees are also eligible for the Connecting the Community Award.

For this category, nominees will choose a YWCA advocacy area they are interested in, and promote votes over social media. The public will be able to cast their votes online until April 13. Scotiabank will also donate $10,000 to the YWCA program area of the winner’s choice.