Entrepreneur, social activist and caregiver recognized as a woman of distinction


Adekelu Ogunleye emigrated to Canada as a single mother and had to start her own business to pay for her education.

Now, YWCA Sudbury is recognizing her as a Woman of Distinction for her accomplishments, along with six other women who will be celebrated at an awards gala on January 28.

The honor is given annually to women chosen for their achievements, achievements, leadership and the impact they have had on girls and women.

“I got to study developmental services work and worked with a school board where I supported children with developmental disabilities,” Ogunleye said.

During her studies, she also created three businesses: for cleaning, clothing alterations and catering.

“I was able to create job opportunities for many international and domestic students,” she said.

Ogunleye will receive the Entrepreneurship Award at the January gala.

Sonia Peczeniuk is the recipient of the Wellness and Health Award for her work with the Ukrainian community in Sudbury.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, she has helped displaced families settle in Greater Sudbury.

“As the war drags on, there is fatigue,” Peczeniuk said.

“And so it’s always important for people to understand that this is very real for people who, you know, families are being decimated.”

Adebola Adefioye founded the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, which provides mentorship and leadership to black women and youth, after her daughter was bullied at school. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Adebola Adefioye will receive the Social Justice Award for founding the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, which provides mentorship and leadership to black women and youth.

When she moved to Canada from Nigeria in 2016, Adefioye said her daughter was bullied because of her skin color.

By supporting her daughter, Adefioye also launched her foundation.

“And by the time she got to 5th grade, she won the most confident kid in her class because she had learned to stand up for herself. She had learned to be a leader, she had learned to say no to people,” she said. said.

Adefioye and her family moved to Sudbury from the Greater Toronto Area last year. She continued her advocacy work in Northern Ontario.

Jackie Balleny was nominated by a friend and chosen for her community service. She works with Sudbury Restorative Justice and volunteers with other boards and organizations.

“You know, I just put my head down and went and did my thing, and I never realized it would be recognized as something distinctive,” she said.

Woman with brown hair wearing brown lace shirt.
Jennifer Hawkins passed away in June 2021. She will posthumously receive a Woman of Distinction Award from YWCA Sudbury for her work with seniors at Finlandia Village. (Submitted by Patricia Clizia)

The late Jennifer Hawkins will receive a posthumous award for her work with seniors at Finlandia Village in Sudbury.

Her friend and former colleague Angela Patrick nominated her.

“She was a pioneer in elderly care and we are thrilled for her today,” Patrick said.

She added that Hawkins helped bring pet therapy to the nursing home and worked closely with residents with dementia.

“Jennifer’s family is so proud of her and so excited for the gala and to come celebrate and feel like she’s the most deserving person with so many other deserving women here,” Patrick said.


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