Alumni Association recognizes local heroes
The Kingston Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA) is honouring two local heroes: Queen’s alumnus Daren Dougall, Executive Director, Youth Diversion Program (YDP), and Bhavana Varma, President and CEO, United Way Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
Mr. Dougall will be awarded the 2012 Padre Laverty Award, given annually to a Queen’s graduate for service to the university and Kingston community. He completed both his undergraduate degree in psychology and his master’s degree in education at Queen’s and now teaches a course on at-risk youth at Queen’s Faculty of Education.
He started volunteering at Kingston’s Youth Diversion Program (YDP) during his second year of undergraduate study at Queen’s and has held the position of executive director of the organization since he graduated in 1985. During his tenure, the agency has blossomed from a small program staffed by a single person to a vibrant, leading-edge organization with 17 staff members and 200 active volunteers, many of whom are Queen’s students.
YDP has long-lived, reciprocal, partnerships with diverse campus groups including the Queen’s School of Business’s Non-Profit Gateway, the School of Medicine, and the student-run STEP dance crew.
Ms Varma is the recipient of the 2012 Jim Bennett Achievement Award, an award that honours a Kingstonian for outstanding achievements. As the Executive Director/President and CEO of the local United Way, Ms Varma has implemented positive change for many Kingstonians through her initiatives and record-breaking fundraising.
Queen's United Way campaign is the largest workplace drive for the United Way serving Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington. Over the past five years, through Ms Varma’s careful stewardship of university volunteers, Queen's has raised more than $1.6 million for United Way initiatives.
"Ms Varma brings together leaders from staff groups, faculty, retirees and student leaders at Queen's to help us understand how best to run a large workplace Campaign,” says staff co-chair Shelley Aylesworth-Spink. “She's taught us best practices from other organizations but most importantly, she infuses passion about United Way by opening our eyes to the needs in our community."
Mr. Dougall and Ms Varma will receive their awards at the Kingston Branch Awards Dinner at Ban Righ Hall on May 15. This event is open to members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities. For more information or to register, visit the alumni events page.