Gala will be held Nov. 5 to celebrate award winners PALS and Dustin Leclerc

— August 5, 2021 SAINT JOHN, NB — The YMCA of Greater Saint John has announced the details of the 2021 Red Triangle Award Gala as well as the recipients of the Red Triangle and Leader to Watch Awards.

The Annual Red Triangle Award Gala, presented by Emera New Brunswick, will be held on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Saint John Regional Y. The Red Triangle Award recognizes long and meritorious service, outstanding contributions and achievement in the community, while the Leader to Watch Award honours an individual who is a role model for other young adults in our community.

“Emera New Brunswick would like to offer our sincere congratulations to this year’s award recipients,” said General Manager Ryan O’Hara. “Your commitment and service to the community has made a tremendous difference to many people. Emera New Brunswick is proud to be part of this community and proud to be part of The Red Triangle Awards. The YMCA has been leading our community for many years and through this event they also help recognize the leadership of others.”

The Red Triangle volunteer review committee received numerous nominations this year and had a difficult choice but in the end were unanimous in their decision. This year’s Red Triangle Award recipient is PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) and taking home the Leader to Watch Award is Dustin Leclerc.

PALS is a program that creates and facilitates beneficial partnerships between a school and local businesses, service agencies and/or community groups. The founding partners of PALS are Mr. James K. Irving, Chairman of J.D. Irving, Limited and the Saint John Education Centre of the Anglophone South School District. Established to help break the cycle of poverty for students living in identified priority neighbourhoods in Saint John, PALS combines initiatives that focus on academic achievement and a positive school environment. By working together, the school and its partners make a positive impact on the life of a child and the future of the community.

“On behalf of all PALS partners, we are honoured to accept this year’s Red Triangle Award presented by the YMCA of Greater Saint John.  The goals of PALS, the Anglophone South School District and the YMCA are the same. The young people of Greater Saint John are our greatest asset. We must all work together to do our best to support them because they represent the future of our community,” James K. Irving, Chairman, J. D. Irving, Limited; and Zoë Watson, Superintendent, Anglophone South School District, Founding Partners of PALS.

The Leader to Watch Award recipient demonstrates leadership and enthusiasm in their life, in learning and in volunteering in our community. In his former role as a Relationship Manager with the United Way, Dustin Leclerc successfully managed a $-1.78-million collective impact fundraising campaign involving 80 corporate entitles and hundreds of individuals. Currently, Dustin is the Executive Director of Carleton Community Centre where he has re-energized important features of a priority neighbourhood in Saint John.

Dustin is a passionate team player and an active volunteer for groups such as the Neighbourhood Action Group, Regional Resiliency Project, Greater Saint John Emergency Food Program, PRC – Living SJ and Fusion Saint John.

“I’m honored,” said Dustin. “My deepest thanks to Alyson Townsend and Trisha Perry for the nomination and to the committee for selecting me. I share so many recent successes and recognition with my incredible colleagues and community members.”

The recipients will receive their awards at the 31st Red Triangle Award Gala on Friday, Nov. 5.  Funds raised at this event will support the Strong Communities Campaign, ensuring that YMCA programs are accessible to everyone.

“We are thrilled to be honouring such dedicated and community-focused individuals,” said Shilo Boucher, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Saint John. “For 31 years, The Red Triangle Awards have been about celebrating people in the Greater Saint John area who make a difference in the lives of others; role models that lead by example. PALS and Dustin Leclerc are making a difference in our community every day.”

Tickets for the Red Triangle Award Gala are $125 each and are on sale now at the Saint John Regional Y and will be available online at


Additional information on the award recipients


Over the past two decades, Greater Saint John businesses, community organizations and volunteers have partnered with schools, the Anglophone South School District and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to enrich the education and open new doors for students both in and out of school. PALS has been and continues to be an important founding partner in this work.

PALS partnerships provide opportunities to complement the curriculum. They help support school staff as they work with students to shape new directions and to think and explore the broad spectrum of possibilities available during their school career and upon completion of high school.

One of their highlighted programs is PALS En Route to Success – a high school program developed in partnership with St. Malachy’s Memorial High School in partnership first with J. D. Irving, Limited and then with many community-based businesses and organizations, such as the City of Saint John, Port Saint John, Key Industries, Shurfit Auto Parts, Stew’s Cleaning Services, Coast Tire, and Loch Lomond Villa. The PALS En Route to Success program provides a high school learning opportunity that is project-based, hands on, and experiential. Students are given challenging responsibilities and have the opportunity to learn by doing. This year the program is pleased to expand to include Saint John High School.

Dustin Leclerc

While he also has a lengthy and impressive history of devoting his time to the most vulnerable,

Dustin’s commitment to the community became widely recognized during the pandemic as he

spearheaded and galvanized an operation to feed children and youth during school shutdowns

because of COVID-19. Knowing that many children in the lower West side of Saint John would be greatly impacted by school shutdowns, Dustin raised funds and with a team provided meals to children who relied on school lunch programs to meet their basic nutritional needs. As a result of Dustin’s leadership, a great number of children and adolescents received meals that were desperately needed.

Dustin is a role-model every day, particularly for the children and adults of the lower West Side.

Whether it is playing volleyball, connecting with residents, or working with his team, Dustin inspires people to be their best selves. Dustin’s staff and the youth he serves revere, respect and admire him.

About the YMCA of Greater Saint John

The YMCA of Greater Saint John is a trusted charity that delivers lasting personal and social change. We are committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community. There are 19 locations throughout Greater Saint John.  Together, we serve more than 22,000 people. Our focus on providing a sense of belonging and accessibility means we serve people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life. Through the Y’s Strong Communities Fund, we are accessible to everyone.

About Emera New Brunswick

“Emera Inc. is a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with approximately $31 billion in assets and 2020 revenues of more than $5.5 billion. The company primarily invests in regulated electricity generation and electricity and gas transmission and distribution with a strategic focus on transformation from high carbon to low carbon energy sources. Emera has investments in Canada, the United States and in four Caribbean countries.”