Long time Muskoka resident, Barb Leek, will be honoured with YWCA Muskoka’s Maggie Ringling Award in a virtual ceremony on April 22, 2021.
The Maggie Ringling Award has been awarded annually since 2009 by the YWCA Board of Directors to an individual or organization for breaking down barriers and advancing opportunities for greater social and/or economic equity for women and girls, and in recognition of the cumulative impact of their many years of contributing to the well-being our Muskoka communities. Maggie Ringling was dearly loved and was renowned for her passion and commitment to the development of support services for women and children.
Barb Leek is one of the founding members of YWCA Muskoka. She was part of a group of local women who came together in 1994 with a vision to build an organization with programs and services to help girls and women build self-confidence, encourage independence and make informed choices. It was due to Barb’s influence and her experiences with YWCA St. Thomas Elgin and YWCA Toronto, that the organization in Muskoka actually became a Community YWCA in fall 1997.
Since then, Leek has remained an active member and volunteer for the YWCA Muskoka and a strong advocate for local women and girls. In addition to her volunteer work at YWCA Muskoka, Barb developed one of the first women in trades curriculum for Georgian College. She taught in elementary schools sharing her love of music and Canadian history. For Canada’s 150th anniversary, Barb organized a Muskoka wide project ‘Something to Sing About’ with friend and fellow artist Eva Moore.
The award will be presented to Leek by two other YWCA founding members, Sheryl Manolakos and Maria Duncalf-Barber.
“Barb Leek deserves the Maggie Ringling award for being a great role model and leader, and being steadfast in her plan of providing services and provision for girls and young women,” said Duncalf-Barber. “The times and energy and skills Barb has brought to Muskoka in terms of play and fun and education is second to none because her heart was always in it and it still is.”
“Barb has a unique ability to create programs and she’s a hard woman to say no to because she always, without fail, thinks of our community first and the girls and young women within it,” Duncalf-Barber said. “That is part of her DNA– to change the trajectory for real changes within social and relationship education which leads to healthier communities.
Barb Leek will receive her award during YWCA Muskoka’s virtual Annual General Meeting on Thursday, April 22 at 7pm. Community members can register to attend via Zoom by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 705-645-9827.