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In 2009 the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children granted two awards in the categories of Child Rights Champion and the Article 12 Award for Youth Participation.Below are brief profiles of the 2009 winners.

Article 12 Award:Jocelyn Formsma

Jocelyn Formsma was given the Article 12 Award for her work with aboriginal youth groups in Canada.Starting at age 14, Jocelyn became a volunteer leader in the aboriginal youth movement.Since then she has used her time and skills to empower other aboriginal youth and to facilitate cross-cultural and intergenerational approaches to the advancement of children’s rights in Canada.

Starting locally, Jocelyn promoted the involvement of young people within the National Association of Friendship Centers (NAFC) and became president of the NAFC National Youth Council.She served as a facilitator in the Caring Across the Boundaries Program, which promotes collaboration between Aboriginal young people and voluntary sector organizations in Canada. Jocelyn currently coordinates the Reconciliation: Touchstones of Hope for Indigenous Children initiative for the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.Her work has been recognized internationally through an appointment to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Indian Child Welfare Association of the USA.

Jocelyn combines learning and service.She has served as a research assistant for the National Aboriginal Health Organization, the Centre for Native Policy and Research, and the University of Western Ontario Center for Addictions and Mental Health.She is continuing her studies and research at the University of Ottawa.

Child Rights Champion:Ms. Pat Guillemaud

Ms. Pat Guillemaud was honoured with a Child Rights Champion award to recognize her years of volunteer work with girls at the Calgary Young Offender Center.Pat’s commitment to building a respectful relationship with the girls, as a Girl Guide Leader, exemplifies respect for the rights of children in a challenging context.Her dedication to helping the girls pursue their interests and aspirations allows them to learn important skills for living.Pat’s relationship with the girls and her dedication to their advancement is an inspiring story of putting children’s rights into everyday practice.

Pat began leading a Girl Guide group at the Calgary Young Offender Center in November 2002.On a weekly basis she engages with the girls in various activities, while building a rapport with each one that allows them to discuss their aspirations with her. If they leave and return, one of the first persons they want to see again is Pat Guillemaud.

Profiles prepared by Kathy Vandergrift

Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children