As an active Ahmadi-Muslim Sara embodies her community’s motto “Love For All - Hatred For None” and models her own personal mission of “A Better World Starts With Me”.
Paired with being a skilled intercultural communicator, navigating various cultures as a world citizen, she engages with ease in interfaith dialogue.
Leading with compassion, curiosity and courage, Sara uses her agency in disrupting stereotypical narratives and weaving community. This is evident through her various community building activities since 2015, such as her “Mats of Kindness” milkbag weaving events in schools, mosques and churches, volunteering with the International Charter for Compassion as Co-Lead Volunteer from 2018-2022, and her advocacy work through Compassionate York Region, which she co-founded in 2021.
Sara has been honoured with the 2022 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Award and the 2023 Richmond Hill Naim Malik Volunteer Achievement Award for the Promotion of Intercultural Friendships.
Sara has a Bachelor of Education from Denmark, her birth country, and she’s is a proud mother of 3 children. She emigrated to Canada in 2005 and has called Oak Ridges home since 2006.
Marj Andre is a community connector. She has the web site and newsletter www.OnRichmondhill.com promoting the events and happening in the Richmond Hill. She is the founder and facilitator of the cross-sector collaborative Connecting the Community, bringing people from diverse backgrounds together for good conversations. In 2022 she launched the Connecting the Community podcast, recording conversations with good people doing good things.
Marj has been active with the Charter for Compassion and has the role of coordinating the compassionate cities in Canada.
She has a degree in sociology from Western University and a Marketing Diploma from Seneca College, and has completed the online Indigenous Canada Course Certificate – University of Alberta
Marj has lived in Richmond Hill for more than 30 years raising five sons. And she loves to photograph nature.
Susan is a registered nurse with 50 years of experience as an educator and practitioner in the health care sector. She has devoted most of her career to teaching in the Seneca/York collaborative BScN nursing program in York Region, Ontario, Canada. Her area of specialization is psychiatric-mental health nursing. She has been providing mental health education and training for profit and non-profit organizations in the community since her retirement in June 2016.
Susan cares about people and their health and well-being. She seeks to understand people's feelings and their behaviour. She is focused on advocating for the vulnerable in our community. It is her concern and compassion for people that has guided her career and passion for learning and education.
Susan received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Western Ontario. After many years of teaching, she returned to school and earned Master's and Doctoral degrees in education at the University of Toronto - OISE. She has worked on a mental health crisis team and facilitated groups at the Cedar Centre (formerly York Region Abuse Program). She is currently involved in volunteer work that focuses on providing care and services to those who are marginalized and are experiencing homelessness.
Susan is married and has one adult daughter. She enjoys interacting with her family and friends. Susan also enjoys hiking and reading a wide genre of books. She is a passionate photographer and enjoys capturing images of nature and people.
Meet other members of our community and build meaningful connections. Our community is a place where you can find support, inspiration, and encouragement from people who share your interests.
Nahid has dedicated her life to bridging linguistic and cultural divides as an interpreter and advocating for the rights and empowerment of marginalized communities in Richmond Hill and surrounding communities. As an educator and teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) Nahid realized that her multilingual abilities could be harnessed to facilitate communication between individuals who did not share the common language. This revelation marked the beginning of her career as a skilled interpreter helping aid workers, educators, parents of newcomer students, and communities.
Nahid’s experience as an interpreter exposed her to the harsh realities faced by immigrants and marginalized communities. She successfully used her linguistic talents as a powerful tool to amplify the voices of those who had been silenced by poverty, discrimination, and injustice. Nahid’s advocacy efforts focused on issues such as women’s rights, education, and healthcare. Her work as an interpreter and advocate was instrumental in facilitating cross-cultural dialogues, influencing policy changes, and improving the lives of countless individuals.
Nahid has been a resident of Richmond Hill, since 1987, and holds a BA degree in psychology.
Heather Skoll is a supporter of community, and a connector with others who are creating positive change.
Heather is Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher, a Certified Rubenfeld Synergist, and has worked in the field of wellness for over 43 years. Currently Heather teaches adapted yoga and movement for those experiencing functional changes as they age.
Heather lived in Richmond Hill for 26 years where she brought up her three sons. She recently moved near Guelph, Ontario to be closer to her grandchildren. Heather is committed to continue to be part of the Compassionate York Region team, with the hope to start a similar group in her new location.
Raika Sheppard was the councillor who brought the motion forward to have Richmond Hill be declared a Compassionate City in 2022.
Raika has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from York University and a Juris Doctorate from Taft University. She is the manager of a law firm in Richmond Hill that provides legal services in various areas of law.
Raika is of Persian heritage and speaks Farsi. She is involved with many charities and is passionate about making Richmond Hill a better place to live, work and play. In her spare time, she loves to travel the world and is a voracious reader.