News Story

Family Value Awards Presented in Nova Scotia

Three Nova Scotians have recently been honoured with Family Values Awards from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for strengthening and supporting the family.

A ceremony to present the Family Values Awards to community leaders Margit Wechsler, Herm Wills and Janice Cruddas was held on 24 May 2013 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia — the first event of its kind in Atlantic Canada. The recipients were recognized for their outstanding contributions and efforts to defend family values and advance standards that support the family.

Margit Wechsler, who immigrated to Canada from Germany 17 years ago, has fostered over 40 children. Wechsler overcame an unhappy childhood and now does everything she can to help children. Recently she permanently adopted four children.

“One little girl, who is blind and has cerebral palsy, is rounding our family out.” Wechsler said. “Receiving an award is a little bit strange, since I am not doing work to get rewarded. I do it because as a Christian I have a responsibility and [I follow] guidelines on how to live my life.”

For the past 25 years, Herm Wills has worked for Campaign Life Coalition, Nova Scotia. At one time he believed euthanasia to be an acceptable practice. That changed, however, once he visited an orphanage and spent time with the children there.

“To be considered for such an award is humbling in itself, for I truly feel that I have not done enough and only wish to have done more to enhance the value of family life. … Families are truly the first community that collectively makes up society. It has been said long ago that how the family goes, so goes the nation,” said Wills.

Janice Cruddas has worked for years with home-schooled children in a program called Meaningful Intelligent Theatrical Entertainment (MITE) for Families. Her group travels to various elementary schools, teaching children about their rights and responsibilities.

“One of the things that makes me the happiest about MITE is that it consistently brings together and empowers youth of various backgrounds. [Whether they are] home-educated, public-schooled, non-religious [or] religious — [they can] reach out to their communities with support and respect,” Cruddas said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints champions the family in principle and in practice. The Family Values Award, which originated in 1991 and was inspired by the renewed emphasis on family issues, acknowledges community leaders who are “striving to advance standards and values that are consistent with the Church position on the family.”

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