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Posted December 3, 2012


A living legacy: Marina Barnstijn recognized for her outstanding commitment to children

Waterloo - At a private ceremony held last Thursday, KidsAbility Foundation recognized a dedicated supporter and champion of children and youth with special needs: Marina Barnstijn.

The highest award that KidsAbility Foundation presents once a year, Mrs. Barnstijn received The Elaine Ormston Outstanding Supporter Butterfly Award at the President’s Reception, an event that has become an annual tradition that celebrates the incredible contributions made by members of the community to KidsAbility and recognizes outstanding support through the presentation of this Award.

First walking through the doors of KidsAbility in Waterloo on April 23, 2004, it was this initial visit that would spark Mrs. Barnstijn’s lasting commitment to the world-class treatment centre. Since that day, she has been working to make the community a better place and to improving the lives of children with special needs.

Mrs. Barnstijn supports KidsAbility because she firmly believes every child deserves the chance to succeed. This philosophy likely took shape during her childhood in the Dutch East Indies, which we know today as Indonesia.

When she was just seven years old, her family was herded into captivity by the Japanese during the Second World War. Except for the Bible, books were forbidden. And food was scarce. Today, Mrs. Barnstijn doesn’t forget her imprisonment, but she does forgive. She immigrated to Canada in the 1950’s, married and raised two children. She is also a proud grandmother.

“Marina has hope for the future. She’s a tireless supporter of the young lives at KidsAbility. Her generous donations truly have made a difference,” says Elaine Ormston, award namesake and a member of the KidsAbility Foundation Board. “One of the things I find most remarkable about Marina is the fact she always lives life to the fullest, whether she’s travelling the world or hundreds of metres above it. Marina is committed to working for the betterment of local children with disabilities believes that every child deserves the chance to succeed. Her gifts continue to help ensure the future of generations to come.”

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