MAKING A DIFFERENCE AWARDS
LOCAL Award: Shannon Irving
The LOCAL Making A Difference Award is presented to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of local significance in multiple births issues within Canada.
The winner of the 2020 Local MADA is Shannon Irving
Shannon Irving won Twins Triplets and More Association of Calgary (TTMAC's) Volunteer of the Year at our annual awards ceremony this year (2020) due to her dedication to serving families of Multiples in Calgary and surrounding areas over the last several years.
She has held many different volunteer positions including Expectant Parent Coordinator which was so suited to her kind and welcoming personality.
She was the face of TTMAC for years and welcomed parents who were expecting multiples with open arms and made them feel comfortable and at ease.
Shannon served on the Board of Directors as Secretary bringing a fresh, upbeat, professional and enthusiastic outlook to the operations of our Association.
Most recently, Shannon has held the role the invaluable Volunteer Coordinator.
She has worked tirelessly making sure that every Volunteer Position was filled or filled as quickly as possible so that all resources and supports could remain available for our members.
That's over 45 positions!!
Along the way, she would take the time to make connections with our Volunteers to ensure they knew how important their contributions to TTMAC were and to provide support whenever needed. That in turn has made our Volunteer team one of the most dedicated and hard working group I have ever seen in my 10 years as a member of TTMAC!
In addition all the work her role required, she ALWAYS offered to take on other responsibilities, including being on the 2020 MBC Conference Committee, first for the one in Calgary and more recently for the one online this Fall.
Shannon is one of the most kindest, generous and overall “good person” you will ever have the pleasure of working with and if you're lucky, becoming friends with.
Shannon, congratulations and thank you for making a difference in your local community!
National Award: Bonnie Schultz
The MADA NATIONAL award is presented to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of national significance in multiple births issues in Canada.
The 2020 National MADA was presented to Bonnie Schultz
Bonnie has dedicated over 30 years to MBC, working with its founder to build its foundation, and acting as a consultant and contributor on the subject of multiples via their Web Site and publications.
Bonnie’s contributions to moving POMBA Canada / MBC forward have been numerous over several decades.
She is a tireless worker and has never hesitated to “get involved,” be creative, or think outside the box with her endless amount of energy, as the Board explored new territories for Canadian multiple birth families and how to improve the many support resources for those families.
1992 – Bonnie, together with Donna Launslager represented POMBA Canada at the International Society of Twins Studies (ISTS) Conference in Japan. I remember they came back excited not only from what they learned was going on for multiple-birth families and the healthcare professionals looking after them, but also excited about how POMBA Canada was embraced and welcomed to the table to add Canadian voices to the mix.
1994-1996 – Bonnie was President of POMBA Canada
1999 – Bonnie put in place the Making A Difference Awards in honour of our founder, Sheryl McInnes. Bonnie and her husband, Jim, donated the plaques for the inaugural presentations.
2000 – Bonnie again took up the reins as President of MBC and during this time, we changed its name to Multiple Births Canada. Bonnie played an important role in arriving at our new name from Pomba Canada, updating the MBC By-laws, developing new Logo and changing the colour of same.
1998-2002 – When MBC was having difficulty finding someone to take care of the Business Office, Bonnie stepped up and for 5 years designated part of her home in Gormley to be MBC’s new office space.
Before Facebook and social media, I know that as a young mother expecting Triplets, my very first call was to the MBC office and Bonnie was the warm kind hearted voice at the other end of the line. For so many other parents and professionals alike, Bonnie’s voice was their first contact with MBC and she soon soothed many parents’ fears as well as mine about having and raising multiples.
Since Bonnie’s retirement, she has kept MBC as part of her family
Bonnie was on many of the steering committees looking to strengthen and improve MBC’s position locally, nationally and internationally. She worked tirelessly in many capacities: Obtaining Charitable Status; updating the appearance and name of our magazine, from Double Feature to Multiple Moments; Mapping the Future; helping organize food, games and decorations for the MBC-led retreats all of which help make the meetings so much more special.
International Award: Kari Ertresvåg
The MADA INTERNATIONAL award is presented to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of international significance in multiple births issues around the world.
The 2020 International MADA was presented to Kari Ertresvåg
Kari Ertresvåg is a 37-year old monozygotic Norwegian triplet who has written a unique and wonderful book on growing up as a multiple entitled Parent like a Triplet. http://parentlikeatriplet.com/
While I devoured every book I could find on raising multiples, I would have loved to have had this book available with its detailed view of BEING a multiple. It would have been an enormous help, and I think we would have been better prepared to support our multiples as they faced the challenges as a result of the nature of their births.
This book fills a large resource gap not only for parents, but also for the multiples themselves.
Kari shares real-life stories about growing up beside two others who looked just like her and she like them.
She addresses the challenge of telling who is who in photos
Kari shares how they were constantly seen as THREE, rather than any of the ONEs who made up the THREE.
There was a constant need to be first to answer, for example, ‘How was your day at school? so that at least the first gets to speak, and interest is lost in what the second says, and even more so for the third to share because it is the same story. Being first became important.
There is so much in Kari’s book that needs to be heard by parents so that they can encourage their children to be proud of their identities not only as individuals, but also of their unique birth situation.
So many parents are afraid to separate their multiples, even to their own rooms, and Kari explains that multiples can actually benefit from having their own personal space/room and time to each make their own friends, discoveries, stories and adventures.
Kari shares that she and her sisters, in order to find their place in the world, left their hometown for some schooling and jobs, one across the Atlantic, in order to cement their own identity, challenges and experience the uniqueness of being ONE. Interestingly, in doing so, each of them found their separation strengthened their triplet relationship rather than break it up.
Kari’s book has been well received around the world. Monica Rankin at the International Council of Multiple Birth Organisations says: it’s a book you should “keep on your bookshelf, because you will find yourself going back to it many times as your multiples grow and develop into adults”.
It has been endorsed by many leading multiple-birth organizations and advocates including:
Dr. Joan A. Friedman from the USA,
Keith Reed of Twins Trust UK, Pat Preedy in the UK,
Kirsty Saxon at Multiples NZ,
and Lynda P. Haddon, past chair of Multiple Births Canada
In gratitude for Kari’s careful research, honest sharing of family stories, and powerful voice of lived experience, we would like to extend our congratulations to Kari as the MADA International Award Winner
We hope her book will find many more readers, and that it will continue to help individuals in multiple-birth families to live well-supported and fulfilling lives.
Corporate Award: Sunnybrook Twins Research Center
The MADA CORPORATE award is presented to an individual, business, corporation or organization who at the national level, in their professional capacity, created an awareness of the challenges faced by Canada's multiple birth children and their families, and/or have made a significant impact on the multiple-birth community and/or Multiple Births Canada.
The 2020 Winner of the Corporate Award is Sunnybrook Twins Research Centre Dr. Nir Melamed, Dr. Jon Barrett and staff
The vision of the Centre is to become an internationally-recognized centre for the conduct of the following: Practice-changing research; Dissemination of knowledge to women and health-providers; Education of the future generations of researchers and clinicians in the field of twin pregnancies.
The research conducted by Sunnybrook's Twins Research Centre has profound impact on both the short and long-term health of twin infants and their mothers.
Many multiple birth families from across Canada find themselves at Sunnybrook for specialized care every year. It is this care that eases their minds and increases the odds of a successful multiple birth pregnancy.
I myself had the opportunity to travel down the 401 to attend a research study held at Sunnybrook and had the honor of meeting Dr Jon Barret during my triplet pregnancy.
Sunnybrook and its doctors have always been welcome to inquiries from Multiple Births Canada. They are open to answering questions, offering assistance knowing that we all have the same goal:
Healthy happy multiples.
MBC has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Centre for many years and know it will continue.
Dr. Nir Melamed is the Head of the Twins Research Centre and Dr. Jon Barrett is the Division Head of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Medical Director of the Twins Clinic.
Congratulations Sunnybrook Twins Research Centre Dr. Nir Melamed, Dr. Jon Barrett and staff
Large Chapter Award: London Multiple Births Association
The LARGE CHAPTER MADA award is presented to a chapter with over 100 members, that has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of significance to their local multiple births community.
The 2020 Large Chapter MADA winner is London Multiple Births Association.
The LMBA has taken whatever this word has thrown at them and tried to provide for each of their families though the troubling world global pandemic, call to make sure each family of multiples feels supported, no matter their race, religion, background or finical situation, and to provide love and support for all members of our community.
Over the past 4-5 months, the LMBA has switched to supporting our members to more online supports - from Online social events (at home paint nights), parent outreach programs (FB event for sleep programs), hosting meetings online, as well as supporting members through FB. With the uncertainty of employment, we have let members stay on in the LMBA Facebook page to support our members without renewing their membership fees. Also, we have removed the 2 week trial period for new members.
Over the past 3 months, our president Michelle has written over 50 letters of caring to our members - to let them know that they are not alone, that we are here for them, and as well, for some to congratulate them on the birth of their multiples. The feedback has been well received, and many state that these cards (that usually also contain a tea bag) lift up their spirits, and was well needed to make them feel that someone is acknowledging them, and that they matter. Due to the club's financial state this year, Michelle has been fundraising to cover the full costs of the cards, stamps, and tea. Members can email the names of members that are having a hard time, executives put and a card for caring will forth names of members that are they have observed struggling through the discussion board on FB, and Michelle sends out cards a few times per month. the nomination for members is done anonymously, so the members are truly thankful that someone has noticed them. This simple ac s helping with our member mental health.
The LMBA is changing how the community sees the club, and in an effort to change our image, the LMBA redesigned their outdated logo, and is in the process of planning and creating promotional materials to be handed out at the local hospitals, medical centers, and community groups. This fall, some LMBA members will be participating (running or walking) in the virtual Run For Women to help support Women\'s Mental Health in the region.
Many community groups reach out to the LMBA to assist families with multiples, from refugee families to low-income families. The LMBA members have been amazing rising to the assistance of these families by providing diapers, supplies, and equipment as well as grocery gift cards.
The LMBA plans to continue with community involvement, welcoming families of multiples with open arms, and changing how we support our families over the next year. We are here to grow, and develop over each year so that we can support our members and be in the London Region for another 40 years!
Congratulations, London Multiple Births Association!
Small Chapter Award: Windsor Essex Parents of Multiple Births Association
The SMALL CHAPTER MADA award is presented to a chapter with less that 100 members, that has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of significance to their local multiple births community.
The 2020 Small Chapter MADA goes to Parents Of Multiple Births Association WINDSOR ESSEX
Over the past several years the Windsor Chapter has gone from an executive of 21 members, who one by one left the leadership roles of the chapter to continue with other obligations and family responsibilities.
Now the executive has 5 members who have dedicated so much time and energy into running an maintaining the chapter.
I wont lie, they’ve had very big shoes fill and they continue to thrive even with all the new challenges.
With new parents finding the support and the information by doing a simple google search or various social media groups, its near impossible get members out to monthly meetings.
POMBA Windsor is approaching it's 40th year and as the years have gone on, the membership has grown, and now unfortunately over the past few years it has been diminishing in size.
POMBA has adjusted the way it functions in hopes to increase the public reach and improve our membership on a whole.
The yearly calendar of events has changed to better accommodate a more diverse membership.
This past year those members that have been involved for more than 10 years were encouraged to join with a discounted membership.
POMBA Alumni that have outgrown our support group have been drawn back into the organization with the hope planning one of the upcoming Multiple Births Canada Conference. Windsor wants to reignite the passion and they have succeeded.
Events from Family Summer Drive-In Movie, Root Beer and Pizza social, Prenatal classes, Halloween Trick or Treat, Coffee and Conversation night, All4Kids Sale, Cookies and Milk, NICU stockings Project, Family Snow Day, Family Swim and Pizza Night
Much more was planned for the 2019/2020 year but the group had to cancel events due to the pandemic and lockdown.
To try to help out our families during the pandemic POMBA Windsor did a series of Pizza Raffles to help feed some of our families during these trying times.
For Multiple Birth Awareness days we asked families to share about their multiples and raffled off gift cards for a family ice cream outing.
Finally, the All4Kids sale is also run by the same executive team. It is the largest sale of its kind in this and the neighbouring county. It brings affordable clothing to families in the community, facilitates donation of unsold clothing to the NICU and local charities, while also providing its membership special shopping and selling opportunities all while raising funds to support the group.
Moving forward POMBA Windsor continues to look for new and innovative ways to support their membership and community while socially distancing.
Congratulations POMBA Windsor, your determination has awarded you the SMALL Chapter MADA Award!
Honourable Mention: Temiskaming Multiple Births
Timiskaming is one of the largest geographical, smallest memberships, biggest hearted and humblest chapters of MBC.
Their ability to support their membership and other members of their community given the huge area and limited yet extremely dedicated volunteer base, is amazing.
They always have a project on the go. Offering workshops on Anxiety, hosting Multiple Birth Awareness activities, outreach to medical professionals, giving books about multiples local libraries and much much more.
This past year their veteran members have been actively reaching out to find and train new volunteers to help continue the 35 year traditions of this amazing chapter.
In addition to all this their outreach to new and expectant families is part of what gives this small but mighty chapter offers, information packages, ready made meals, help with laundry, feedings, and being extra hands when needed.
They also will help with diapers, formula and baby supplies if needed.
This year given limits on gathering for our National Multiple Births Awareness Day, they executed a new idea.
Lawn signs placed on their members lawns to celebrate and promote MBC and their chapter. This last minute, small plan will lead to many other chapters doing this in the future.
As well as all their amazing local efforts, TMBA is always available to help with ANYTHING MBC needs.
From long time members offering personal help, to the chapter paying for things outside of MBC's budget
This year as the conference was forced to move online, TMBA members stepped up to contact, confirm and fund 3 of our amazing speakers.
They were also the big push to additional "multiple birth" content to the lineup. This year more than ever, TMBA has shown their strength as the Little Chapter that Could!!