A grandfather of non profits recognized

As the old African proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. This has been George Green's mantra - except for him, it takes the whole of Whitehorse.

As the old African proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. This has been George Green’s mantra – except for him, it takes the whole of Whitehorse.

For over five decades, the 67-year old grandfather who works three jobs is still volunteering for a slew of non-profits in the city – some of which he created.

Green received a Caring Canadian Award from Governor General David Johnston last Wednesday. And rightfully so.

The award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time and efforts to better Canadian society.

He’s been volunteering since 1958, when he collected non-perishable items and fundraised for a church in Nova Scotia as a high school student.

He has never stopped volunteering since. The organizations he has created or has been a part of are devoted to helping people who have disabilities, the poor and youth.

A variety of reasons make him passionate about his causes. For one, he has been inspired by a “special someone” in his life who has a learning disability.

Also, it’s practically built into his DNA – he has a strong belief in eradicating poverty on a systemic level, which his grandmother instilled in him.

“How do you eliminate poverty? It’s a huge question. First of all you have to believe you can. Most people think you can’t. They always have that old biblical saying that the poor will be with us always.

“You have to have the attitude and belief that you can. You can if you think if you can, is what my grandmother always told me. And she lived to be 104, so I think she had something going good for her,” Green said.

For 12 years, he was the executive director of the Learning Disabilities Association of the Yukon (LDAY). There, he found “sponsors” who would pay for many children and adults who needed $2,200 for a psychological assessment, the first step in understanding a person’s mental capacity.

He fundraised to provide people with learning disabilities with computer programs such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, which types what a user dictates. He has pooled together around 150 volunteers who now consider themselves “friends” of the association, Green said. Each of them has contributed their time, money or expertise to helping those with learning disabilities.

Working at LDAY inspired him to start another non-profit, called the Whole Child Project Steering Committee, which co-ordinates after-school programs that allow low-income parents to work closely with teachers. He saw the need to create the committee after several parents from LDAY told him they felt disconnected with their children’s education.

“They felt too intimidated to go into the school, they would go into a parent-teacher meetings where all these people have been sitting around with degrees and high levels of education. They were not feeling very empowered at all,” Green said.

The evening programs he put together with the Yukon committee would teach both parents and children essential skills, without the mundaneness of school. For example, one night a week, they would all cook a nutritious meal together, Green said. Parents could also upgrade their skills by taking computer lessons with the group.

Green also co-founded the United Way chapter in the Yukon, which automatically withdraws a chosen amount of money from donors’ bank accounts to support local charities and organizations. He served as a board member for five years for the international non-profit and is still volunteering this October for its annual breakfast fundraiser.

But he takes co-founding the Food Bank Society of Whitehorse and the Anti-Poverty Coalition most personally. “It isn’t right that we have food banks. We have to create a society where we don’t need food banks,” he insisted.

“We’re such a wealthy community here, and yet people are hungry, starving, with no place to sleep or live. Some people have such a low standard of living. We have to find a way to organize society so we can distribute (funds) more fairly and justly,” Green said.

Although the food bank even offers local produce for the homeless to take home, he wants to go beyond helping the disenfranchised on a case-by-case basis. He’s been working with the government for the last three years on the Yukon Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which was initiated by the Department of Health and Social Services.

There was a plan developed by the department, Green said. But he questions how the strategy has been applied so far.

“It doesn’t seem to be working very quickly to implementation phase for whatever reason.

“I would like for us to make more progress on the poverty front. And it’s sometimes very frustrating when things move so slowly. But we have to keep trying, we can’t give up.”

To not give up is a lot to say for a man who is eligible to retire. But he still loves helping people, Green said.

He is still working. He’s filling in as a temporary replacement manager for the territory’s Workplace Diversity Employment Office. He teaches software program courses to adults over 50 years old who are continuing education at the Yukon College. And he’s a consultant for disability conference organizers.

Green also wears many personal hats. He’s raised three biological children and an unofficially adopted child with his wife. He’s also a grandfather to nine.

But he barely takes the credit for all the lives he’s touched. “It’s not just about me. It goes back to working together. Together we do it better. Simple as that,” he said.

His proudest accomplishment yet? “I just finished the Chilkoot Trail, my daughter and I just finished. It was a hoot, we had a wonderful time.”

Contact Krystle Alarcon at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Chief Superintendent Scott Sheppard of the Yukon RCMP speaks to media in Whitehorse on Nov. 19, about Project MUSKRAT which has been ongoing since December 2017. Yukon RCMP have charged five Whitehorse individuals and seized $450,000 in cash along with drugs, prohibited weapons and stolen goods after acting Nov. 4 on search warrants obtained during the three-year-long investigation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Yukon RCMP seize $450,000 and stolen goods in Whitehorse drug bust

Five individuals have been arrested and released on conditions.

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read