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Karen Bennett presented 2018 CHANNAL Hope Award

Karen Bennett, centre, was presented the 2018 Hope Award during the Consumers Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador's Annual Stigma Awareness Week Variety Show. She posed with her award being presented by Bonnie Rotchford, left, regional peer support Stephenville, and Lisa Lucas, who nominated her for the award.
Karen Bennett, centre, was presented the 2018 Hope Award during the Consumers Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador's Annual Stigma Awareness Week Variety Show. She posed with her award being presented by Bonnie Rotchford, left, regional peer support Stephenville, and Lisa Lucas, who nominated her for the award. - Frank Gale

In nominating her for the Hope Award, Lisa Lucas described Karen Bennett as “a beacon of light during a dark time in her life.”

The award was presented at the Consumers Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador’s (CHANNAL) 2018 Stigma Awareness Week Annual Variety Show on Tuesday night at the D.S.B. Fowlow Building of the College of the North Atlantic.

The Hope Award is given to an individual who has affected someone’s recovery in an utmost supportive, understanding and non-judgmental way. The person is nominated by a peer in recovery.

“She’s boosted my mental wellness with her compassion and understanding,” Lucas said of Bennett.

She said Bennett never treated her differently because of her anxiety disorder and has been there as a shoulder to cry on during more than one occasion.

“I consider her to be much more than a student development officer. She’s a friend,” Lucas said.

Bennett, who is a student development officer at the College of the North Atlantic, said she felt honoured to receive such an important award.

She said she was surprised when she heard she was going to be the recipient. She said she doesn’t like to be recognized for what she does, but this award felt good because it’s so important to remove stigma.

“I think it’s important to give people understanding, give them their space and when that person is ready to talk, I’m here to listen and I believe that goes a long way,” Bennett said.

The award was presented to her by Bonnie Rotchford, regional peer support Stephenville with Consumers Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador.

The fourth annual variety show had a number of performers doing everything from songs to recitations to poetry, all with positive messages.

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