3rd Annual Honourable Justice Edward W. Ducharme Award of Distinction

Media Release
October 13, 2017

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Windsor, ON – United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County, in partnership with Strosberg, Sasso, Sutts LLP and Ducharme Fox Lawyers LLP, is pleased to honour the legacy of the late Justice Edward Ducharme by presenting a deserving community leader with a community service award.

The third annual award will be presented posthumously to Kaysandra Curtis at a luncheon at the Caboto Club on Friday, October 20, 2017. The Honourable Edward W. Ducharme Award of Distinction is awarded to a member of the Windsor-Essex community who demonstrates outstanding contributions to education or leadership and/or to the public good.

The event will be emceed by Justice Ducharme’s brother, Richard, and include a keynote presentation by The Honourable Allan Rock, former Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Former Minister of Justice and Minister of Health, Ambassador to the UN and President Emeritus of the University of Ottawa.

“Kaysandra’s whole life was dedicated to volunteerism and encouraging young people to set goals and to reach their potential,” says Lorraine Goddard, CEO at United Way. “She stepped up to the plate by taking on leadership roles that benefitted both the organizations she was championing as well as the community.”

All event proceeds will support United Way’s 2018 Summer Lunch Program. The Summer Lunch Program ensures that children who rely on school nutrition programs don’t go hungry over the summer while school is out.

Thanks to the generous support of donors like those attending this event, the 2017 Summer Lunch Program expanded from west Windsor into Leamington and supported 892 children by serving 11,408 lunches in July and August, a 36% increase in reach over last year’s program.

To register for the event, visit: www.weareunited.com/Ducharme or call 519-258-0000 x1125. The luncheon takes place from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. Doors open at 12:00 pm.

Thank you to our media sponsor, Windsor Star.

Media Contact:  Karen Brady, Acting Vice President Marketing & Communications
kbrady@weareunited.com   |  Work: 519-258-0000 x1213  |  Cell: 519-564-8554
Twitter @UnitedWayWE  |  Facebook: United Way Windsor-Essex 
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United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County mobilizes the caring power of the local community to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways. The United Way focuses on three priority areas: moving people from POVERTY TO POSSIBILITY, helping KIDS BE ALL THEY CAN BE, and building STRONG COMMUNITIES.  Additional information is available at www.weareunited.com

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Backgrounder: Kaysandra Curtis, Award Recipient

Kaysandra Curtis understood the importance of giving back to her community. Early on she excelled as both a student and an athlete competing with the Trinidad and Tobago National field hockey team. Emigrating to Canada in 1977, Kaysandra brought with her many of the values she inherited from the island community, especially the idea that family extended beyond bloodlines. Throughout her life in Windsor, she was involved in many programs focused on community service.

For many years, Kaysandra worked the intensive care and critical care units at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton and Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Windsor. As a member of the St. Clair College Board of Governors, she promoted post-secondary education.

Kaysandra’s leadership shone in the way she mentored young people, encouraging them to set goals and reach their potential. As creator and host of the Cogeco television show Mentors Matter, she wanted others to recognize that youth are our future.

In 2012-2013, Kaysandra was president of the largest Rotary Club in District 6400, the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918). Under her leadership, the Club established a Literacy Committee that was the most active committee in the Club and won several District Literacy Awards. She dedicated her life to volunteerism epitomizing the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”.

Kaysandra raised funds to create a children's learning center at the Windsor Public Library. She also created the Pediatric R.E.A.D program which delivered books to new mothers to help them understand the importance of reading to children at an early age.

Kaysandra was president of the Distinguished Women of International Service that promoted the betterment of youth on both sides of the border by giving scholarships, promoting and engaging in service projects designed to expand friendship, global knowledge and understanding of common historical events in the lives of people of African descent.

As an immigrant herself, Kaysandra understood the difficulty of assimilating in a new community. Through her work as Chair of the annual Carousel of Nations event and on the Board of Directors of the The Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex County, she was able to support newcomers to Canada. She had a commitment to the values of inclusiveness, leadership and volunteerism.

Backgrounder: The Honourable Allan Rock, Keynote Speaker

Allan Rock is President Emeritus of the University of Ottawa, and a Professor in its Faculty of Law.

Allan practised for 20 years (1973-93) with a national law firm in Toronto, appearing as counsel in a wide variety of cases before courts at all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He was inducted in 1988 as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is a former Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Allan Rock was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 1993, and re-elected in 1997 and 2000. He served for that decade as a senior minister in the government of Prime Minister Chrétien, in both social and economic portfolios. He was Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (1993-97), Minister of Health (1997-2002) and Minister of Industry and Infrastructure (2002-03).

Allan was appointed in 2003 as Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York during a period that involved responding to several complex regional conflicts, including those in Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur. He led the successful Canadian effort in New York to secure, at the 2005 World Summit, the adoption by UN member states (unanimously) of The Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing and other mass atrocities.

In 2008, Allan Rock became the 29th President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, a comprehensive university of 50,000 students, faculty and staff. The University of Ottawa is ranked among the top ten in Canada for research intensity, and is the largest bilingual university (French-English) in the world. He completed two terms as President of the university in 2016.

Most recently, Allan Rock was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School, associated with the Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, with which he remains affiliated.

He is married to Deborah Hanscom and they have four children.

Backgrounder: United Way Summer Lunch Program

United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County’s Summer Lunch Program provides a nutritious lunch, and other activities to elementary-aged children over the summer months when school nutrition programs are not available. The pilot was launched in west Windsor in 2015. In its first year, United Way helped 190 children and served 2,455 lunches. The 2017 program grew significantly, thanks to generous donors, and served 892 kids over 11,400 lunches this past summer.

The program runs five days a week over the summer months. More than 111 volunteers helped make and distribute the lunches at 17 program sites in west Windsor and Leamington.

The demand for the Summer Lunch Program in the community is high, and United Way hopes to expand the program to include more children in Windsor, as well as to expand the program to other neighbourhoods in Windsor and Essex County.

Backgrounder: Justice Edward W. Ducharme

Justice Edward Ducharme began his career as an English Teacher. Although his Honourary Doctorate celebrates his career as a lawyer and judge, law was his second career. He was known as Dr. Edward Ducharme, Ph.D., Chair of the English Department, Assistant Dean, and Assistant Vice President at the University of Windsor. He specialized in the teaching of courses in literary criticism and theory.

Despite his success and achievement as a scholar, Justice Ducharme elected to make a pivotal change in mid-life, to pursue a career in law. After being called to the Bar in 1987, he returned to teaching briefly before joining a Windsor law practice in 1990, inspired by his mother who wished for him to help people by practicing law, and encouraged by his brother, Patrick, also an accomplished lawyer, and his good friend and lawyer Harvey Strosberg. His main areas of practice were employment law, labour relations and class actions.

Justice Ducharme held a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (1980) and an M.A. and LL.B. from the University of Windsor. He was a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada from 1999 until his appointment to the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) in 2002. He has authored or co-authored legal articles in a variety of areas, including employment law, the law of evidence, and civil trial advocacy. In 2009, he was appointed Regional Senior Judge for the Superior Court of Justice in the Southwest Region. He became a member of the Regional Senior Judges Council. He also served on the Education Committee for the Superior Court Judges. On April 5, 2012, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the highest court in the province. In 2013, Justice Ducharme was scheduled to receive honorary doctorates from both the Law Society of Upper Canada and Assumption University.

Justice Ducharme had a profound respect for the written word and found particular joy in poetry. He loved language as used in both poetry and law, recognizing the great difference between the two uses, and employing them to great effect in his career practicing law.

Justice Ducharme was married to fellow lawyer Carolyn Gray, and has a daughter, Sarah Gill. Prostate cancer claimed his life in 2013 at the age of 69. Justice Ducharme grew up in the west end of Windsor, where United Way’s Summer Lunch Program was piloted in the summer of 2015. His good friend Harvey Strosberg said that Justice Ducharme was very concerned about children going hungry, and the program was created to honour his memory.





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United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County
300 Giles Boulevard East, Unit A1
Windsor, Ontario N9A 4C4
t: 519-258-0000 | f: 519-258-2346
Charitable Registration #: 10816 0334 RR0001