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  • Day One Society

Out of the Ashes Bursary Receives Communitas Award for Excellence in Community Service

Kamloops, B.C. - Day One Society’s (D1S) Out of the Ashes (OOTA) Bursary has been honoured with a prestigious Communitas Award in the ‘Excellence in Community Service’ category. The acknowledgment of the OOTA Bursary in this category highlights the Society’s commitment to transforming the lives of individuals in recovery and creating a positive impact on the community.

(Left) Sian Lewis, Executive Director, Day One Society, and (Right) Leann Kopytko, co-Founder Out of the Ashes Bursary and Program Supervisor, Raven and Adolescent Outreach for Day One Society. Photo credit: Tiffany Christianson Photography

“I was absolutely thrilled to learn that Out of the Ashes won this national award,” shared Leann Kopytko, the founder of the bursary. “Not only has this bursary, fully supported by community members, done so much to help young men and women achieve their educational goals, but to receive this honour is truly wonderful, knowing this grassroots initiative has received national attention."

The Communitas Awards honour the outstanding efforts of companies, organizations, and individuals internationally who are actively contributing to their communities and making a real difference. Winners of the award are dedicated to helping people and changing how they do business to benefit employees, communities, and the environment.

Initiated as a prevention initiative by Leann Kopytko, current Program Supervisor at D1S, and her late husband Ron, the OOTA Bursary provides educational support to youth in Kamloops who have undergone a minimum of one year of recovery.

“We are so proud of Leann and her group of volunteers who have kept this program running for over 15 years,” said Sian Lewis, Executive Director of Day One Society. “It’s a testament to the remarkable impact we can make to help others in the community, and we’re so pleased Leann and the bursary have been recognized.”

Starting with a small donation from six friends of Ron and Leann, all local small business owners in Kamloops eager to make a difference, the Society’s Board of Directors matched this initial donation, leading to the first $2,500 bursary awarded in 2008. Since then, with the generous help of Kamloops’ citizens, the program has grown to reach $100,000 in donations in 2022, with 45 bursaries awarded and two additional bursaries of $2,500 each awarded this past year.

Recognizing the challenges faced by those in recovery, especially considering the nature of addictions, the age criteria was recently expanded to ages 17–29 and 30 years and older, ensuring that more individuals in recovery can achieve their educational aspirations.

In the past year, the OOTA Bursary proudly awarded its first recipient in the category 30 years and older and acknowledged the achievements of two recipients in the category ages 17–29.

“This recognition is a reflection of the positive change that is possible when individuals are given the right support on their journey of recovery,” said Lewis. “Day One Society and the Out of the Ashes Bursary program help create a lasting positive impact in the lives of people, their families, and by extension, our communities.”

To arrange an interview, contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison || 250.574.0221


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