I’m brimming with pride today, as we have the chance to see my fiancée, Deborah Richardson accept a prestigious award. The Amethyst Award is presented by Ontario’s Secretary of Cabinet to the best-of-the-best in the provincial public service. She led her Division in the teamwork category for their visionary work in Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY).
PLAY is a pilot program developed by Right To Play in partnership with the Province and other organizations. The program helps Aboriginal youth improve their health, self-esteem and leadership skills through participation in sport and play activities. It is based on similar sport and play programs run by an international organization called Right To Play in more than 20 countries around the world. The first communities to benefit from the program are Moose Cree and Sandy Lake First Nations. Due to it’s overwhelming success, other communities will also see benefit soon.
The Amethyst Award was established in 1993 and designed to recognize outstanding achievements by people, not programs, in the Ontario Public Service (OPS). These are people who have extended themselves, whether in creating a whole new way of delivering a service, developing time and money-saving technology, or showing extraordinary professionalism and care in performing their daily tasks.
As Assistant Deputy Minister with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, Deborah is truly deserving of awards and recognition, although she prefers to play a behind-the-scenes role. She exudes the virtues of respect and humility. She is a visionary leader, with a big heart and genuinely cares for her fellow First Nation people, especially the youth in the far north. She has taken on such important issues as community development, infrastructure development, addressing suicide in these communities. She is indeed a friend to many in the north.
Please join me in congratulating Deborah. Way to go, honey. We’re so proud of you. Love, Bob, Jasmine, Fiona, Griffin, Miigwans and Katherine Faith.