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Media Release – High River and Calgary Shelter Staff Win Provincial Award for Excellence


October 8, 2020 

High River and Calgary Shelter Staff Win Provincial Award for Excellence 

Edmonton, Alberta – The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) recognized shelter workers from YW Sheriff King Home domestic violence shelter in Calgary, and Rowan House emergency Shelter in High River with the 2020 Joie Dery Award for excellence in shelter work on September 25 at the ACWS Annual General Meeting. 

The award celebrates excellence in shelter work and is named in honour of Joie Dery, a former shelter worker, and later executive director, who committed herself to social justice for abused women at the Cold Lake women’s shelter, Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre. Dery was also a former president of ACWS.  

Shelter staff have always been essential workers, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, they have gone above and beyond to serve women, children, and seniors in need. Shelter workers are everyday superheroes, and it’s important that we honour them for their contributions to their communities with the Joie Dery award.  – Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS 

Radenka Ilic exemplifies the true spirit of the Joie Dery award. For more than 28 years, she has tirelessly provided support and leadership in the DV sector and to the women, children, and team members she works with.” – Talia Bell, Vice president Programs & Services, YW Calgary 

The Rowan House award winners include the following shelter staff: Krista Leibreich, Michell Diaz, Carlee Marchbank, Dakoda Stacey, Ashley Wan, Angie Conway, Lisa McNeil, Sidney Casey, Gabriela Solis de Garcia, and Myrna Hunking. 

This is an amazing group of women who, during this pandemic, have truly stepped up to exemplify commitment to Rowan House and supporting our residents. They were a pillar of strength during a recent positive COVID outbreak in our shelter and showed true leadership in the most difficult of circumstances.” – Timmi Shorr, Chief Operating Officer, Rowan House  

The Joie Dery Award is given annually by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters to a shelter worker for going above and beyond in their work supporting survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Ms. Dery was renowned for her strong sense of social justice coupled with a wonderful sense of humour which she brought to every aspect of her work and life. ACWS staff, Board, and members of Joie Dery’s family select the winner from nominations received throughout the year. 


About ACWS 

ACWS is the provincial network organization of women’s shelters in Alberta. ACWS supports 41
members operating 52 shelters across the province. ACWS serves shelters through corporate and community change; collective data and research; and frontline education and training to end domestic violence. 


For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact: 

Christie Lavan 

Director of Public Relations and Community Engagement, ACWS