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
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
“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.”