While COVID-19 has changed the ways we gather, celebrate, and honour one another, it has not changed the way our neighbours step up to support each other in times of crisis—from making essential grocery trips for immunocompromised neighbours to making wellness phone call checks for seniors or helping newcomer families access the support services they need.
Early in the summer of 2020, in collaboration with Apartment613, we sent out a call for nominations to honour local volunteers who stepped up in this time of need. Together, we recognized five outstanding COVID Heroes with Community Builder Awards to honour the incredible work they did to support their communities and the most vulnerable people within them throughout the pandemic.
In August 2020, we chose to honour eight more remarkable volunteers who uplifted their community during COVID-19, showing constant selflessness and care during unprecedented times. In November, we honoured six more local community builders, and in February 2021 we awarded six local heroes who have gone above and beyond to support their communities.
We’re proud to introduce you to three more incredible community builders. With the help of these change makers and their unwavering support for their community, more people across our region feel connected, nourished, comfortable, encouraged, safe, involved, and heard.
Read on for a post on Community Builder Kara Eusebio, and keep an eye out for future posts rolling out through the week.
Since arriving in Canada in 2016, Kara Eusebio has significantly supported and created inclusive communities in Ottawa.
In January 2017, she founded Cornerstone Housing for Women’s Young Professionals Advisory Board (YPAB)—the first board in Ottawa focused on empowering young professionals to advocate for inclusive housing policies and support the 500 women served by Cornerstone each year.
During her two years as Chair, the Board more than doubled in size from 9 to 21 members, and Kara helped develop programs with the women who call Cornerstone home. This included encouraging political participation and civic advocacy, hosting panel events to draw attention to the housing crisis in Ottawa, and putting on social events around the themes of arts, baking, and cooking. To date, the Advisory Board has raised more than $6,000 in support of women experiencing homelessness.
“Since coming to Ottawa in 2016, I feel like I’ve formed such an incredible community, and I’m seeing so much love in the chat [from supporters and friends]. Thank you all so much, I’m so honoured.”
Working with both the Children’s Bridge Adoption Agency and the Adoption Council of Canada, Kara also served as a Coordinator for the Connect-a-Kid Adoptee Mentorship Program, providing mentorship and guidance to adopted children aged six to 12 for over two years. Here, Kara developed tactics with both parents and kids for children experiencing racism, those who identify as transgender or non-binary, and those living with mental health challenges.
Through the Ottawa Global Shapers, Kara developed and has co-led the Discovery Crew Project since March 2019, bringing together young professionals and young people with intellectual disabilities to form networks and friendships while fully participating as active citizens. Kara continues her work with the Ottawa Hub of the Global Shapers Community and was elected President for 2020–2021.
Even with the onset of COVID-19, Kara has not slowed down. Most recently, she was appointed a professor at Algonquin College, currently leads the Ottawa Chapter of the Women and Colour Speaker Bootcamp, and recently published an opinion piece in the Ottawa Business Journal on how businesses can include Asian Canadians in their anti-racism work.
Do you know a community builder who has gone above and beyond to support their communities through COVID-19? Our Community Builder Awards program accepts nominations year-round! Find out more here.