True Grit Award Winner a Voice for the Marginalized

True Grit Award Winner a Voice for the Marginalized
by Alberta


This fall, The Salvation Army’s own Pamela Spurvey was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for True Grit. The award honours successful efforts to reduce stigma, encourage recovery, and strengthen programs and services in the area of mental health and addiction.

Pamela Spurvey is a devoted mother of five and grandmother of three. She is very engaged in her career as a Peer Support Worker for Alberta Health Services, working with the inner city population. Pamela hasn’t always had this life – in fact, after a very traumatic and tumultuous childhood, she spent many years feeling hopeless and believing there was no way out. She spent many years lost in the grips of addiction and mental health challenges; however, with the help of a supportive community, self-help groups and guidance from health care providers, she gained the confidence needed to achieve wellness. She was also able to reconnect with her aboriginal culture.

​“Because I experienced so much in my own life, I really feel that this helps me to connect better with the people that I work with,” says Pamela. “It’s this feeling of shared trauma but I tell them that if I can make it out the other side so can they.”

Pamela has been on her wellness journey for more than 10 years. In her day-to-day work, she is helping others to empower themselves, gain a sense of hope, and achieve wellness. In addition to her work as a Peer Support Worker, Pamela is a mentor with the Edmonton Drug Treatment Court, an organization that was instrumental in her own recovery success.

Pamela also sits on committees for Homeward Trust as a voice for people experiencing homelessness. She is a certified Financial Literacy Instructor with Empower U, a program designed to help people achieve financial literacy and independence. In addition to all of this, Pamela also has a position at The Salvation Army that supports women who are trying to achieve wellness from mental health and addiction.

Today Pamela is able to look at her past not with shame but as gift. Pamela’s mission is to be a voice of change for people within the health care system and the community and to continue to empower others to find their voice.

“Being able to help others by providing a voice to people that feel as though they have been forgotten or that society doesn’t care is one of the best things that I have ever done,” says Pamela. “It feels good to give people hope who feel as though they have none and to truly make an impact in my community.”