Sylvia Leal honoured posthumously with PCC's Mary Neville Award

For immediate release

May 18, 2011


Mississauga – Peel Children’s Centre (PCC) has presented its 2011 Mary Neville Award posthumously to the late Sylvia Leal, founder and Chief Executive Officer of PLASP Child Care Services.


The award presentation was part of A Tribute to Sylvia, a special event organized by PLASP to honour Sylvia Leal’s legacy as a child care champion. The tribute occurred on Wednesday, May 18 at the Mississauga Convention Centre.


Sylvia passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in January after a remarkable 33-year career at the helm of PLASP.


Under her visionary leadership, PLASP grew from a small program serving 3 schools to an award-winning organization caring for children at 212 sites and employing more than 700 staff.


PCC’s prestigious Mary Neville Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the areas of prevention and early intervention in children’s mental health.


“Sylvia was a passionate champion for children and their needs, building better futures for thousands of children and their families,” said Humphrey Mitchell, Executive Director of PCC.


“At the heart of Sylvia’s calling was her strongly-voiced belief that ALL children have a right to warm, nurturing care in their early years.


“Driven by this philosophy, Sylvia partnered with PCC in the 1990s so that children with behavioural challenges could be supported in PLASP’s child care programs,” Mitchell said. “PCC provided behavioural consultants and training for PLASP child care providers.”


Describing her as “an untiring change agent and advocate,” Mitchell spoke of Leal’s commitment to capacity-building in the Peel community, including her contributions to the Success by Six Council of Champions and the new Peel Children and Youth Initiative.


As a member of the Quality Early Learning Network, Leal worked to convince the Ontario government to allow school boards to continue their partnerships with high quality, not-for-profit child care providers in the implementation of full-day learning for 4- and 5-year-olds.


Leal was also active on the Fair Share for Peel Task Force, advocating for reform of provincial government funding for social services to ensure equitable access to social services in Peel and other high growth areas of Ontario.


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See attached backgrounder
Information: Mora Thompson  905-795-3507


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