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Student in the Spotlight: Dènik Dorval

Dènik Dorval, a proud student in Saint Paul University’s master’s program in Social Innovation, has been helping to transform Franco-Ontarian communities since he was 17 years old.

In addition to studying full-time, Dènik is the manager and creator of the Association des Communautés Francophones d’Ottawa (ACFO)’s bilingual program. Dènik, who is very involved in his community, excels at social innovation – which, in his view, “means transforming society and doing things differently, reflecting on problems in a different way, because that generates interesting ideas for doing good economic and community development.” That is why at the most recent RelèveON 2020 awards gala, he won the jury’s Coup de cœur award!

Being Franco-Ontarian has always been very important to him. Since he has been managing the $1 million micro-grant fund at ACFO Ottawa – whose mandate is to boost bilingualism through francophone projects in the nation’s capital – the program, set up in the space of just one month, has already exceeded its goals after a single fundraising campaign. So far, no fewer than 100 organizations will receive a grant to create projects that promote la Francophonie in Ottawa.

Dènik’s success is not due to chance but to his engagement with various Ontario francophone communities and his desire that more and more people speak French in their daily lives. This is nothing new. Before moving to Ottawa, Dènik managed projects for the Regional Research and Intervention Centre for Economic and Community Development (CRRIDEC) in Hearst and opened the first Cooperation Council of Ontario (CCO) office in Timmins.

It is clear that Dènik’s social involvement has only increased over the past six years. As he said in his thank-you speech at the RelèveON 2020 gala, Dènik hopes that his experience will prompt organizations to venture onto the path of innovation by giving a greater role to francophone youth. As he sees it, that’s good for everyone.

He also wants to say to youth “to not be afraid to take their rightful place, to try to face challenges that at times seem too ambitious, because life is a constant learning process and you have to go for it.”

It goes without saying that at Saint Paul University, everyone is proud of Dènik’s accomplishments and hopes he will continue to build on this success.


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