Nominations are now open for 2020

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OPDI Lighthouse Awards

October 5th, 2020

Please help us honour excellence in peer support by nominating an individual or organization for the great work they have done.  There are five categories, two organizations and three individual awards to choose from: 

Awards to Individuals

Unsung Hero

Our Unsung Hero Award goes to an individual who through their tireless commitment and work has shown excellence in their service and support around mental health and addictions. Often, these are members of organizations or communities who work hard to encourage and amplify other voices, shine a spotlight on the work of others and do behind the scenes work to keep peer support services running and peer support communities strong. While they may not be at the front and centre of an organization, their work has an enormous impact on the community and people served. This award is specifically intended for someone who has not been recognized for their work in mental health/addictions before. 

They are currently a member in good standing of an OPDI member organization, and agrees in writing to be nominated.

This individual has never won any mental health/addictions related award at the provincial level or beyond.

Anyone may nominate except the nominee. The nominator will describe how this individual has shown initiative and excellence in any or all of the criteria listed on the 2020 Nomination Form for Individuals.

Peer of the Year

Our Peer of the Year Award goes to a peer worker who stands out for their dedication to improving mental health and addictions support and raising public awareness around mental health and addiction. Through their compassionate and experience-informed work, the Peer of the Year uplifts members of their community, improves service delivery and amplifies the voices of people with lived experience. Their work may include creating/leading new peer programs, advocating against mental health and addictions stigma and discrimination or working to transform existing practices with an organization. The Peer of the Year is a leader in the community they serve (be this geographical, organizational, identity-based, etc.) and an inspiration to other peers.

They are currently a member in good standing of an OPDI member organization.  They agree in writing to be nominated.

Anyone may nominate except the nominee. The nomination package will describe how this individual has shown initiative and excellence in any or all of the criteria listed on the 2020 Nomination Form for Individuals.

Pay it forward

The Pay It Forward award is inspired by the example of influential mental health champion Linda Chamberlain. Like Linda, the nominee for this award will have grappled with significant challenges or barriers in life and used their experience to advocate for change. These challenges may include but are not limited to poverty, homelessness or incarceration.

“Paying it forward” in the context of mental health could mean using one’s own experience of discrimination in the health system to lobby for the improved conditions and treatment of future users. It could mean advocating for more affordable housing and improved shelter conditions for others after experiencing homelessness. Whatever the challenges they have faced, this nominee has mobilized their experience to create something better for others, shows compassion to their peers and inspires future generations to pay it forward too.

No organizational affiliation is necessary to be nominated in this category.

Anyone may nominate except the nominee. The nomination package should describe how this person has shown initiative or excellence in any or all of the criteria on the 2019 Nomination Form for Individuals. 


Awards to Organizations

Innovators

Our Innovators Award was created to honour organizations from your community that have shown creativity and innovation in their work around mental health and addiction. This might include unique approaches to peer-driven research or system design, innovation in peer-delivered service, and innovation in public education or anti-stigma /anti-discrimination campaigns. Innovators are changemakers within their communities, pushing the boundaries of what we know to offer new and better solutions in mental health.  

This year, COVID-19 has put particular strain on mental health services and required the rapid adoption of new service approaches within challenging constraints. Therefore, our innovators award may go to organizations that have found creative and cutting-edge ways to serve their communities at this time. This might include finding ways to serve new communities impacted by the virus (such as frontline workers), innovating programs digitally (e.g. creating online meetings, discussion boards, Twitter threads, YouTube channels, webinars) or working to overcome digital barriers through revised service models or mental health initiatives (e.g. warm phone lines, care-package drop-offs, art initiatives, etc).

Single organizations/initiatives as well as collaborations/partnerships between several organizations can be nominated for this award.

This category is open to any organization (including but NOT limited to OPDI members) that in the last 1 to 3 years has shown innovation in its service delivery to people with lived experience, no matter what the type of service may be.

Any individual or organization may nominate in this category, including volunteers or members of the nominated organization, but not directors or staff. The nomination package will describe how the organization has shown excellent community building efforts as described on the 2020 Nomination Form for Organizations.

Community Builders

Our Community Builders Award goes to an organization that is creating bridges. They may work across organizations, sectors, neighbourhoods, regions, or identity/issue/social groups to foster relationships, create networks, offer better services, increase access to support, educate and share information, reduce stigma and discrimination, and create more inclusive and resilient communities. Community builders are collaborators and partners. They care about equity and social justice. Throughout their work, community builders amplify the voices of those who have been silenced and increase capacity for peer involvement in decision-making.

This category is open to any mental health or social service organization (including but not limited to OPDI members), media organization, private or public corporation, or public figure that, in the last 1 to 3 years, has contributed the mental health and addictions system at the local, regional, provincial or national level.

Any individual or organization may nominate in this category, including volunteers or members of the nominated organization, but not directors or staff. The nomination package will describe how the organization has shown excellent community building efforts as described on the 2019 Nomination Form for Organizations.

NOTE: *Current refers to positions or memberships held since April of the year prior to the current year.  Current OPDI directors and staff, or members of their immediate families, are not eligible for nomination in any award category. Nominators name and contact information is required with the package but the nominator may remain anonymous to public if they so choose.

OPDI will present three awards per year, chosen from among the categories submitted. We reserve the right to adjust the categories that individuals are submitted to if there is a better fit.

NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN - Submit nomitations by August 21, 2020

  1. Download the individual nominations form and the organization nominations form.
  2. Ensure the individual or organization is willing to be nominated, and meets any stated membership or affiliation criteria.
  3. Prepare a full description of the activities & efforts of your nominee that you feel reflect the list of Winning Attributes described in this brochure.
  4. Have your nominee approve and sign the description.
  5. Collect as many letters of support as possible (minimum two required, with one being from an OPDI member organization). A tip: make it easier to get more letters of support by advising writers they only need to mention their own knowledge of the nominee - it is not necessary for every writer to reiterate information related to other people or programs.
  6. Application package must be received by August 21st. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
  7. OPDI staff or Awards/Selection Committee member may contact the nominator and/or supporters for information or clarification.
  8. Recommendation of the Awards/Selection Committee will be taken by the Board of Directors.
  9. Recipient and nominator will be notified by telephone and follow-up written communication on September 11th. 
  10. If two organizational awards are given, one will be to an OPDI member and one to a non member. If one organizational award is given, it could be either to an OPDI member OR a non member.
The people have spoken: more peer support

Three recent major government consultations – the all-party Select Committee of the Ontario Legislature, the Minister’s Advisory Group on 10-year Mental Health Strategy, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada – all heard it, loud and clear. People want more access to peer support.