Bringing seniors together with their loved ones virtually, connecting refugees with critical resources, cultivating safe communities and braving wildfires are examples of empathy in action demonstrated by all five of the 2022 SunCares Changemakers. Empathy in action is this year’s theme for National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 24 - 30 in Canada.
Each year, five Suncor employees are recognized for going above and beyond in their community, volunteering their expertise, 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. Now in its fourth year, the SunCares Changemakers program brought in many inspiring nominations from across the company.
Here are your 2022 Changemakers:
Asif Syed, Fort McMurray
Where Asif’s donation went:
- $7,000 to Waypoints
- $7,000 to Markaz Ul Islam Fort McMurray
- $6,000 to Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club
Asif is a fluid and tailings project engineer, active community member and avid volunteer in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). Passionate about enriching the lives of his family, friends and neighbours in his community, Asif focuses his time supporting causes that improve well-being, bring people together and inspire the next generation. He’s organized fundraising events for the Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club, Fort McMurray Center of Hope and Canadian Cancer Society, coached youth soccer and basketball and annually guest lectures at Keyano College to help first year engineering students navigate the challenges of post-secondary and the early stages of their career, and is on the Waypoints board, an organization working towards a society free of domestic and sexual violence and homelessness.
“Volunteering in the RMWB is a unique experience because there is a wide variety of people from all walks of life, cultures and backgrounds,” says Asif. “I am motivated to add value to my community that has given me so much.”
Bukola Ojemankinde, Calgary
Where Bukola’s donation went:
- $13,000 to Ladies in the Family Foundation
- $5,000 to Bridge to Oasis Foundation
- $2,000 to Skill City Institute
Bukola, a reservoir engineer at our Mackay River site, is an inclusion and diversity advocate and community builder. Bukola founded two organizations; the Bridge to Oasis Foundation (BTO) that focuses on the well-being of Black and African seniors by nourishing the body and soul, and the Ladies in the Family Foundation (LIFF) that aims to bridge cultural differences between women and address shared challenges. Through these organizations, Bukola helps connect seniors to online resources by providing devices (100 of them were refurbished Suncor laptops) and digital training, and helps immigrant women and girls settle into Canadian culture by connecting them with women, knowledge and skills training.
Barry Pitcher, Fauquier, B.C./Fort McMurray
Where Barry’s donation went:
- $15,000 to the Fauquier Volunteer Fire Department
- $5,000 to the Fauquier Community Club Society
As a trainer at our Fort Hills site and a volunteer firefighter in the small B.C. community of Fauquier (pronounced folk-year), Barry wears many hard hats. Last summer, when wildfires threatened most of the Okanagan, Fauquier’s volunteer fire department (FVFD) was determined to protect its community with its two fire trucks. Working 12-hour shifts, the FVFD ensured roof sprinklers were installed and animals were protected and fed. When the fire finally calmed, the FVFD saved all but five home. Barry and his excavator volunteered with the clean-up to help his neighbours rebuild their lives.
“The work that was accomplished goes to show the love for our community and the people who call it home,” shares Barry.
Karim Kaba, Calgary
Where Karim’s donation went:
- $10,0000 to Multi-Generational Housing and Community Center
- $10,000 to Technology4Seniors
Over the last few years Karim, project controls manager in downstream and renewables, has been creating solutions that enrich seniors’ lives using smart technologies as the co-founder of Technology4Seniors. The organization aims to alleviate social isolation and loneliness while educating and entertaining seniors. Currently, Technology4Seniors has helped more than 100 seniors connect with friends and family virtually, take part in yoga and exercise programs, join health-related seminars and remind them to take their medications on time. This is on top of leveraging his lessons learned from a past volunteer project, managing the build of the leading senior care facility Multi-Generational Housing and Community Center in Calgary, to support a new facility in Toronto.
Mohammed Al-Dhaby, Fort McMurray
Where Mohammed’s donation went:
- $10,000 to Canadian International Immigrant and Refugee Support Association
- $5,000 to Human Concern International Canada
- $5,000 to Markaz Ul Islam Fort McMurray
Mohammed is a mining and upgrading maintenance coordinator at Suncor’s Base Plant and has been volunteering since he was 14 years old. In addition to regularly volunteering for the Fort McMurray Food Bank, Mohammed has organized fundraisers and drives for multiple organizations in the region, is on the board of Markaz Ul Islam and was integral to establishing the Canadian International Immigrant and Refugee Support Association (CIIRSA) branch in Fort McMurray. Because of his leadership, he has been able to help over 30 refugee families and ensure they were properly supported with critical services including childcare and English language courses.
“I am grateful for my parents for supporting me to volunteer from a young age,” reflects Mohammed. “Giving is the gateway to happiness, and as a family it is with great pleasure and joy that we can change peoples’ lives for the better."