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These are some of the folks who made New West so special in 2021

Looking back at 2021

We all know New West is home to some amazing folks – far too many to mention – but we’d like to highlight a few of the people featured in the Record in 2021 who made our world a little bit brighter.

Ahmadi family

Week-in, week-out, New West residents Roqiya Ahmadi and Mohammad Amin Ahmadi help put food on the tables of local residents in need.

Several years ago, the couple started Social Hope Forum, a New Westminster-based non-profit organization that fights against child poverty and child labour in Afghanistan. When the pandemic began, they started collecting food and making food hampers available to community members twice a week.

The four Ahmadi children – Farhod, Feresatah, Farazod and Farzona – have used money that would normally have been used for birthday parties to buy supplies for goodie bags that they give out to seniors, homeless people and other community members.

“We share our happiness to them,” Mohammad says.

Leona Green

Vulnerable citizens, seniors and animal shelters are just a few of the causes supported by Leona Green, a charity-supporter extraordinaire.

In 2004 Green was named New Westminster’s Citizen of the Year. In 2019 she received the B.C. Community Achievement Award, which celebrates British Columbians who go above and beyond in their dedication and service to others and who devote time and energy to making their communities more caring, dynamic, beautiful, healthy and unique.

But instead of resting on her laurels, she’s always coming up with new ways to support charities, whether it’s by cooking up soup for seniors (thousands of bowls during the early months of the pandemic), offering a bowl of soup in exchange for socks that are donated to local charities or baking hundreds of tasty scones to raise money to buy much-needed dog food for an animal shelter in Guatemala that she supports.

Much of what Leona does is done with little fanfare – like providing leftover food from her deli to a local non-profit that disperses it to folks in need.

Kyle Routledge

Kyle Routledge has quietly been leading the Glenbrook Ravine restoration project for several years. To Kyle and all the volunteers, young and old, who help remove invasive plants and plant more suitable species, we say thanks for helping to beautify this lovely little oasis in our city.

Since 2016, volunteers have raised over $26,000. They have also racked up some impressive statistics at their 25 work parties, with nearly 600 volunteers getting their hands dirty, planting more than 1,300 trees, and restoring over 2,600 square metres of area from a monoculture of Himalayan blackberry to an assortment of 18 different native shrub and tree species.

“I want to give a very heartfelt thank you to all of you,” Kyle says in a year-end message to volunteers. “It was a pleasure getting to work alongside you and I know the community is grateful for all we have accomplished. The passion you have for this place and the help you provided will not soon be forgotten.”

Kyle is stepping down as the event’s organizer to focus on his growing family, but he still intends on lending a hand with some of the boots-on-the-ground work). For all his years of efforts to preserve this beautiful greenspace, we say thank you.

Elaine Su

When Sapperton resident Elaine Su approached some of her neighbours to see if they’d be willing to put a Lunar New Year decoration on their doors to demonstrate to her young son that his cultural identity was important as other festivals, she had no idea what to expect. Su’s request struck a chord with her neighbours, with more than 50 homes decorating their doors for Lunar New Year.

For bringing joy to residents, promoting inclusivity and for helping to build a better community, Su is one of the folks we’d like to thank for making New West the kind of community where we want to live.

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus