Annual award from Family and Children’s Services recognizes those who help improve the lives of families in Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
Youth counsellor Brian Howell of Kingston has been awarded the 2020 Family Advocacy Award – the highest award given by Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
The award, held every year to celebrate Family Day, recognizes an individual, group or organization for their contribution to making the lives of families in KFL&A better. The 125-year-old Children’s Aid Society is recognizing Howell for his 30+ years of work with at-risk youth in the Kingston area.
“It takes a special person to do what Brian Howell does. For three decades he has been quietly and passionately serving this community helping at-risk youth and their families. In the process, he’s made a difference in the lives of so many people, and in the life of our community. Brian Howell is a very special family advocate and that’s why we’re so pleased to honour him with the 2020 Family Advocacy Award,” said Sonia Gentile, Executive Director of Family and Children’s Services.
Howell, who is due to retire in March, was originally a telephone lineman for Bell Canada before he started volunteering for an after-school program for at-risk children in Belleville. He then went to Loyalist College to get a diploma in their Social Service Worker program. After graduating, he joined what is now Resolve Counselling Services of Canada in 1984. During his career at Resolve, he has worked in a variety of programs helping children and youth, including the RISE@one4nine youth housing project and the One Roof Youth Services Hub in Kingston. One Roof was the 2018 winner of the Family Advocacy Award. His colleagues describe his work with youth and parents as non-judgmental, respectful, warm and compassionate.
“Brian has assisted so many youths and their caregivers through some of the most difficult life circumstances one can imagine. Brian has always had a special way of connecting with everyone who meets him, but there is something uniquely special about the way young people respond to Brian's approach,” wrote one of the people who nominated him.
“Many of the young people he meets with are dealing with homelessness, substance use, trauma, and significant mental health issues. Brian has shown them that their stories are worth hearing, that their experiences matter, and that someone is there for them. Brian has brought kindness, compassion, respect and empathy to each client he works with, allowing them to uncover the potential within themselves, and to begin to heal,” said another.
Past winners of the Family Advocacy Award include Mental health advocate Anne O’Riordan, the One Roof Youth Hub, the Kingston Immigration Partnership, Lennox and Addington Interval House, Maribeth Scott from Northern Frontenac Community Services and the Newburgh Community Christmas Concert.