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Announcing the 2023 Alberta Women’s Shelter Award Winners: Recognizing the Shelter Staff and Volunteers Supporting Survivors of Domestic Abuse

September 25, 2023

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters’ (ACWS) Joie Dery and Volunteer Awards are presented annually at their AGM to recognize the tireless service of domestic abuse shelter staff and volunteers.

On September 22, 2023, ACWS announced this year’s winners: Sage Cardinal, a long-serving, dedicated staff from Edmonton’s WIN House, takes home the Joie Dery Award. Pat Lothrop, a tireless volunteer for High River’s Rowan House, has won the volunteer award.

Joie Dery Award Winner: Sage Cardinal, WIN House, Edmonton

Pictured: Gaye Warthe (President, ACWS), Janis Irwin (MLA, Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood), Sage Cardinal (WIN House, Crisis Intervention Worker and Joie Dery Award winner), Leslie Allen (Executive Director, WIN House), and Julia Hayter (MLA, Calgary-Edgemont)

Sage Cardinal is described as one of WIN House’s “Rockstars”. On September 22, 2023, she was thrilled and surprised to accept Alberta Council of Women’s Shelter’s (ACWS) Joie Dery Award recognizing shelter staff who bring tireless commitment to social justice and ending domestic abuse in Alberta. She has worked with WIN House in Edmonton for 24 years and filled many client facing roles over that time.

“Sage is always in the playroom connecting with clients. They feel really comfortable going to her for support,” her anonymous nominator wrote. “She always puts the clients first.”

What has kept Cardinal in this difficult work for almost a quarter of a century? “I love working with the families: with the moms and kids,” she says. “They are so courageous to start a new life. It is nice to be part of the community that helps them as they go through this difficult journey.”

Cardinal’s nominator says: “Sage is knowledgeable about community resources and is always helping clients get set up with supports for when they leave. She’s one of our rockstars.”

“It’s because of staff like Sage Cardinal that our shelters continue to do so much for so many,” says Jan Reimer of ACWS.

“I never expected anything like an award,” says Cardinal. “I love my job.”

Volunteer Award Winner: Pat Lothrop, Rowan House, High River

Pictured: Gaye Warthe (President, ACWS), Linette Soldan (Executive Director, Rowan House), Pat Lothrop (Rowan House, Volunteer and Volunteer Award Winner), and Jackie Lovely (MLA, Camrose)

Pat Lothrop first volunteered with Rowan House Society in 2009 and seems to have done everything since: fundraising, accounting, administration, internal and external events. On September 22, 2023, she was proud to accept Alberta Council of Women’s Shelter’s (ACWS) Volunteer Award that recognizes women shelter volunteers who bring tireless commitment to social justice and ending domestic abuse in Alberta.

Lothrop’s first connection with the women’s shelter was through her former business, Diamond Willow Artisan Retreat. On opening night, each artist donated a painting that was auctioned off to support Rowan House.

“In my past, I’d been exposed to family violence not personally but through an extended connection. And I think it is a big issue in Southern Alberta.” After that initial fundraising effort, she hosted soup making days at the retreat centre, she painted walls, and grew to value the “huge hearts” of the people running the shelter.

Beth Smith, Volunteer and Events Coordinator at Rowan House, says, “Pat has a strong connection to the work that we do and whenever she is out in the community, she strongly advocates for us which has increased the number of people we are able to help.”

Jan Reimer of ACWS says, “Pat is a prime example of how vital it is to support individuals in the process of Hope and Healing from domestic violence and abuse.”

Smith remembers her first time working with Pat. “I had not been with our organization long before I was put in charge of organizing our golf tournament. Pat not only collected an abundance of wonderful items from the community, she made fantastic connections while encouraging me the whole way. She boosted my confidence and gave me the support I needed to pull off the tournament.”

Smith says, “Pat is so deserving of this award as she is a huge advocate for our cause. Her unwavering support, dedication and unconditional warmth is essential in the work that we do. We are so lucky to have in our corner.”

About Joie Dery

Joie Dery was an active contributor to the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters for more than 25 years, playing a key role in growing the association into what it is today. Joie worked for two decades at the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre in Cold Lake, helping women and children in that community escape and heal from domestic violence. She was a member of the Board of ACWS and President of the Council for a number of years. Under her leadership, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters not only successfully advocated for increased salaries, benefits and training for shelter workers but also committed to the first-ever world conference of women’s shelters. Joie’s tireless commitment to social justice and to abused women is an example for us all. Joie Dery passed away in 2011.



For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact:
Carissa Halton, Communications and Media Relations