On International Volunteers Day (December 5, 2018), the Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Honourable Minister Ricardo Miranda, and the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, awarded Dr. Ireh Iyioha a Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award.
Six people are honoured annually in Alberta for "demonstrating exemplary initiative,
leadership and creativity in their service to others and inspiring others to engage in volunteer service, while improving the overall quality of life of fellow Albertans and the community as a whole". Only two individuals are honoured in each of three award categories annually. Dr. Iyioha was one of two in the adult category honoured this year on International Volunteers Day.
The award recognizes Dr. Iyioha's commitment to several causes in Alberta focusing on the personal and nutritional wellbeing of children-in-need and the professional advancement of youths under her organizational platform, the Patricia Eromon Iyioha Foundation (PEIF) Fund Inc., as well as her volunteer efforts on advancing the healthcare of people of Black, African-Canadian and Caribbean descent living with HIV/AIDS in the province through the Ribbon Rouge Foundation (RRF).
Dr. Iyioha volunteers actively on a number of projects established under her organizational platform, The PEIF Fund, Inc. The Fund supports the personal and nutritional wellbeing of children-in-need and other vulnerable children, including orphans, kids living in poverty and conflict, and girls locally and internationally. Through the organization’s flagship program, the Service Mentorship Exchange Program (SMEP), the organization supports the careers of socially-conscious young innovators and professionals committed to serving vulnerable children in their communities through small to medium scale initiatives targeted at improving children’s nutrition, closing gaps in their learning, or meeting their healthcare needs.
The PEIF Fund provides strategic, professional, and financial support for selected projects led by both Mentees and volunteers. Through these collaborative efforts, Dr. Iyioha’s organization has fed over 500 children in the African region and contributed to the children’s education in poor Nigerian neighborhoods.
In Canada, The PEIF Fund offers the Kids Food Basket (KFB) program to support the nutritional wellbeing of disadvantaged children in the Edmonton Region. The KFB program involves an annual food donation campaign organized by Mentees who sign up for the project, as well as the collection of food donations all year round in scheduled events, where possible. Funded by the PEIF Fund, food donations collected from the KFB initiative are provided to the Edmonton Food Bank. Speaking at the ceremony at Government House, Dr. Iyioha thanked those who make her work possible, noting that her accomplishments are possible because of a supporting family and a community of volunteers who believe in the vision of the organization.
Iyioha and Mentees on the KFB Project Collecting Food Donations for the Edmonton Food Bank at a Local Event
The Stars of Alberta Award is the most recent in a long line of awards recognizing Dr. Iyioha’s dedication to service and social reform for her Canadian and the international communities. In November 2018, Avenue Magazine recognized Iyioha with the Top 40 under 40 Award. In 2017, she was named as one of 150 Most Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada. In that same year, she was recognized for her inaugural work on the concept of Substantive Legal Effectiveness and contributions of the theory to women’s healthcare and equality; for that work, Dr. Iyioha received the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) Award for scholarly award that makes a significant contribution to legal literature. These awards have come in the wake of Iyioha’s 2016 Immigrant of Distinction Award given for outstanding contributions in professional and service capacities.
The PEIF Fund congratulates Dr. Iyioha on this amazing recognition!