The province has recognized a Cranbrook woman for her work and volunteerism with youth at Amy Woodlands Elementary School and local sports organizations.
Irene Bischler was announced as a recipient of B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship, a provincial award that celebrates outstanding service and commitment to communities.
“This important honour recognizes people who have gone above and beyond to offer help and kindness to others during these exceptionally challenging times,” said Premier John Horgan. “The latest recipients of the Medal of Good Citizenship make our province a better place through their contributions and provide an example we can all aspire to meet in our communities.”
Medals will be presented at virtual ceremonies in the coming months.
According to a biography submitted in the announcement, Bischler is described as “one of the most compassionate, selfless and empathetic people who has ever worked at Cranbrook’s Amy Woodland Elementary School.”
Bischler sets up the breakfast club for the school, which feeds 30-40, greeting students who may not have otherwise been fed or had a positive interaction yet that day.
Following breakfast, Bischler begins emotional support groups, where students cook, do carpentry, sew, decorate cakes and cookies, among many other activities. Additionally, she often takes students out into the community for activities, always with the goal of ensuring students are happy, emotionally regulated and connected to their school community.
She also mentors young teachers and education assistants, and has worked with the Southeast Kootenay School District’s Alternate programs. As president of the CUPE Union, Bischler ensures members are supported while working in high-stress situations they may find themselves working in.
Outside of the classroom, Bischler has also supported athletes through power skating and figure skating coaching. She also has given respite care to kids to help families in crisis, and has also worked with individuals with special needs for many years.
The announcement included a total of 14 recipients from communities across the province.To date, a total of 90 citizens and two communities have been recognized.
“It was such a difficult decision for the committee to select just 14 individuals from the long list of incredible nominees,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, and chair of the medal’s selection committee. “We are so fortunate in British Columbia to live amongst so many unsung heroes. These outstanding, remarkable and selfless leaders make our communities shine brightly.”
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