Frances Jablonca was, until its dissolution in July 2020. President of CDBA-AB. Prior to her elevation to President she served in several capacities On the Board of CDBA-AB for several years. As an elementary school teacher, Frances worked with children and most recently as an ESL instructor at Bow Valley College in Calgary. Her involvement with the field of deafblindness began more than 25 years ago after the birth of her middle child Charlotte, born with CHARGE Syndrome. As a parent, amongst the many skills she acquired, she learned the role of Intervention and advocacy because of her experience with Intervenors and other professionals in the field.
Under her watch, CDBA-AB strived very hard to meet and support the needs of the deafblind community in Alberta. The AB Chapter experienced success in multiple areas of service including:
- Annual Fall weekend retreats
- Social events during Deafblind Awareness Month in June
- Charlotte MacKinnon Memorial Wagon Ride
- Fundraising events such as hosting casinos
- Support with accessibility technology
Frances joined the Board of Directors of CDBA National in September 2017 as the Alberta Chapter Representative and served AB Chapter interests with enthusiasm and profound commitment. As a lasting tribute to her daughter Charlotte, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 22, Frances has written a series of articles entitled “Lessons from Charlotte’s Web” for the CDBA National “Intervention” magazine about her experiences as a mother of a child with deafblindness.
Because of her years of service to CDBA, both provincially and nationally, it is our pleasure to present Frances Jablonca with the CDBA National Cherry Bulmer Award. This is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding volunteer contribution to the Canadian Deafblind Association at the national and chapter level. Many members came to this organization out of necessity. You felt that you had to speak for your deafblind children so their needs could be met and they would be able to live fulfilled lives. Frances did just that – her beautiful daughter lived her young life of 22 years to the fullest despite her disability, thanks in large part to her mother’s spirit to do good in the world. CDBA Alberta and, later on, CDBA National, were the beneficiaries of that giving spirit for many years!
It is therefore our pleasure to give Frances Jablonca the 2020 Cherry Bulmer Award for Volunteer of the Year. With it comes our deepest gratitude for her community spirit, her time, her example, and her talents as a volunteer.