Members of DRPS joined dignitaries from across the GTA in Ajax Thursday to celebrate the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI) Public Heroes Awards.
The ceremony honours those who have gone above and beyond to help others in their communities. Among the recipients was DRPS Cst. Joylene MacNeil, who began her career with DRPS in 2001. Over the years Cst. MacNeil has worked with at risk youth and victims of human trafficking. She is currently an active member of Durham Connect and the Boys and Girls Club.
She was also the organizer for the Ritson Road Summer Kick-off in 2016, a program designed to bridge the gap between youth and the police. She also worked in collaboration with Durham Region housing organizing and coordinating bicycle donations for young children. During this event she arranged to have the brain injury clinic attend for a demonstration, promoting bicycle safety and donated over 100 free bikes and helmets to children.
In 2014 Cst. MacNeil initiated the Gowns for Girls program after learning from a local Oshawa School that some students were unable to attend their prom due to financial burdens. To date, the event has helped over 900 young females find appropriate attire to attend this milestone event.
Her committee has received over $100,000 in generous donations from community partners and this does not include the thousands of dresses, shoes and jewelry that have been donated. She is planning for a larger success in 2017 as they get set to host the 4th annual Gowns for Girls event next week. Her message is always "all donations will help make a young girl's prom dreams come true." This year there is a plan to start a similar program for boys.
"As you can all see, Cst. MacNeil's dedication, commitment and positive energy are exemplary qualities of a true community leader and I am so proud that she is a member of my police service and the members of our community are proud to have her serve them," said DRPS Chief Paul Martin.
DRPS Cst. Hannah Elkington, a former IDI recipient, hosted the event and Victim Services of Durham Region was the charity partner. The group heard a touching speech from Executive Director of Victim Services Jade Harper.
Congratulations Cst. MacNeil and all the recipients!
Intercultural Dialogue Institute is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to advance social cohesion through personal interaction bu promoting respect and mutual understanding among people of all cultures and faiths through dialogue and partnership.
Cst. MacNeil and Chief Martin (JPG file, 572.2K bytes)
Joylene with her award (JPG file, 1,504.8K bytes)
Chief Martin (JPG file, 472.9K bytes)
Jade Harper of Victim Services (JPG file, 651.8K bytes)
Former Recipient Cst. Hannah Elkington (JPG file, 656.9K bytes)