Ravi Ahluwalia and Jane van Berkel, Co-Winners of 2015 Mary Neville Award

June 16, 2015

Mississauga – This year’s Mary Neville Award will be presented to Ravi Ahluwalia, Psychometrist and Infant and Child Development Consultant with Infant and Child Development Services Peel (ICDSP); and to Jane van Berkel, Executive Director of Child Development Resource Connection Peel (CDRCP).

Ravi and Jane will receive the Mary Neville Award at tonight’s Joint Celebration in the Mississauga Convention Centre at 6:45 pm following the Annual General Meetings of Peel Children’s Centre (PCC) and six other Peel social service agencies.

Presented annually by PCC, the prestigious Mary Neville Award recognizes a community member who has made an outstanding contribution towards prevention and early intervention in children’s mental health services.

Ravi Ahluwalia has 37 years of frontline experience working with hundreds of children and their families, providing intervention, early identification, support and adjustment counselling through individual and group work.

Ravi was nominated by Lynda MacIntosh and Nikki Palmer of ICDSP, who describe Ravi as “a gifted, sensitive clinician with a high level of expertise in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and their families.”

Lynda and Nikki emphasized Ravi’s commitment to building social connectedness. She has used early intervention to facilitate parent-to-parent connections that reduce stress and social isolation, and has explored new ways to overcome cultural diversity as a barrier to social connectedness for parents of children with Down syndrome.

Jane van Berkel is an enabler, innovator and champion of collaboration whose efforts across multiple service sectors, both within Peel and provincially, have been instrumental in moving services forward for children.

Jane was nominated by CDRCP staff Elizabeth Hawley, Riva MacNeil and Sara Ammar, who said, “Jane understands the complexities of the early years, child care, developmental services and mental health sectors, and the many challenges that families face. She is always asking, ‘What do families need and how can we make it happen?’”

The CDRCP staff highlighted Jane’s involvement in numerous planning bodies and cross-Ministry initiatives, including Success by 6, Peel Children and Youth Planning Group, Fair Share for Peel Task Force, and Ontario’s Special Needs Strategy.

Humphrey Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of PCC, said, “Ravi and Jane, it is an honour to recognize your careers dedicated to early intervention and prevention. You have greatly enriched the services and supports available to children and their families in Peel.”

Mitchell noted that PCC established the Mary Neville Award to honour the efforts of the now late Mary Neville, former Prevention Coordinator at PCC. “It is fitting that, early in her career, Ravi knew and worked with Mary Neville. Tonight we come full circle in recognizing two innovators who were influenced by Mary’s passion for early intervention and prevention.”

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Media enquiries: Mora Thompson, Communications Specialist, 905-795-3507

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