Over the past few months during the COVID-19 response, we have witnessed countless examples of people coming together and caring for each other.

Whether that’s been standing outside and cheering front-line workers at 7 p.m. every evening, sharing a message of hope in your window or posting an image of clapping hands on social media as an act of solidarity – we’ve been sharing extra cheer. For us at Suncor, it’s also that time of year when we get to celebrate five outstanding employees who are making an impact through volunteerism.

Each year, five employees are recognized for going above and beyond in their community, volunteering their expertise, personal time and financial contributions in a meaningful way throughout the year. Each SunCares Changemaker gets to identify a community organization of choice to receive a one-time donation of $20,000 from Suncor or the Suncor Energy Foundation. In its second year, the SunCares Changemakers program brought in many inspiring nominations from across the company.

Dean Kennedy, pipeline maintenance operator, is Edmonton’s 2020 Changemaker who donated $20,000 to the Strathcona County Robotics Association.

Dean is a passionate advocate of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and robotics. He is the president of the Strathcona County Robotics Association (SCRA), an organization that uses robotics-based programs to engage students in STEM in a fun and explorative environment and encourage them to pursue education and careers in STEM related fields. Dean is also the head coach of the organization’s First Tech Challenge Cyber Eagles. Last year, the Cyber Eagles were one of two teams from Canada who qualified for the world competition in Houston.

“The SCRA was formed by several passionate parents who recognize the impact that science, technology, engineering and math will have on their children,” says Dean.

To further its impact, the SCRA partners with the Boys and Girls Club and Scouts Canada to host robotics and STEM camp days.

“This donation will help us expand the SCRA’s programming and cover material and equipment costs for communities and youth who may have limited opportunities to explore robotics and science in a meaningful or fun way.”

Congratulations to Dean, for his work and contributions that encourages young individuals to realize that their potential ‘STEMs’ from within.