In recognition of International Volunteer Day (December 5, 2021), the Grande Prairie Regional Association of Volunteer Organizations (the Association), their sponsors and the City of Grande Prairie gathered to present their respective annual volunteer awards on December 6, 2021.
The Association along with presenting sponsor ATCO recognized 8 exceptional youths in 4 distinct categories: Leadership, Advocacy, Perseverance and Volunteerism.
Watch the Awards presentation at https://youtu.be/ZH2B_W0btoE?t=561.
The 2021 Leaders of Tomorrow are:
Leadership Award Recipients
Kierara’s ability to lead, not just through words but by example, proves that the most influential people can often be the humblest. Her focus and dedication to working hard to pursue her passion for art have inspired others to work hard to achieve their goals.
Kieara is enrolled at Beaverlodge Regional High School and has volunteered to create artwork for Link Center and the Indigenous-centered space within the school.
She is a member of the Dungeons and Dragons club, Indigenous student council, and the Pitone Youth Group at the Friendship Center and Traditional Paths Society. With the Pitone Youth group, she has volunteered in events and workshops such as Spirit Seekers, Waniska young leaders retreat and NextGen Indigenous Career Exploration Day. In addition, she has helped at the Friendship Center, serving food, preparing kits and building garden boxes.
Kieara has promoted her Indigenous heritage through dance and learning and teaching traditional ways. She is a young woman who exemplifies the teachings of her Kokum; she would never expect recognition because she does things from the heart.
Kieara’s Charity of choice is the Canadian Red Cross
Chief Warrant Officer Larter is the senior cadet of the Grande Prairie Army Cadets and is a cadet that every Commanding Officer wishes they had.
Since his arrival, CWO Larter has demonstrated excellent leadership skills. He is a quiet young man yet always steps up (without being asked) to lead the younger cadets. He always participates in every local training/ community event and consistently sets an example of a senior cadet.
Since the arrival of COVID and the move toward virtual training, CWO Larter again has shown the example of a senior cadet. He is the only senior cadet who chooses to partake in the virtual CTC offerings in the summer of 2020/2021 and consistently attends every virtual unit training event, thus providing a valuable leadership example to the younger cadets.
CWO Larter volunteers with the Rotary Terry Fox event & food drive, winter Carnival, Regional fiddling workshops and historical competitions and the United Church delivering goods to different missions in the city.
Jeremy leads by example and always strives to help Cadets better themselves. He is a model youth of tolerance and inclusion.
Jeremy’s charity of choice is the Salvation Army Grande Prairie.
Advocacy Award Recipients
Leaders who set out to make a difference distinguish themselves by doing more, learning more, and becoming more. Erin Pelé is one of those leaders. While she wouldn’t necessarily describe herself as such, her impact in her school and community is far-reaching.
As a member of her school Social Justice Club (Maverick Movement), she initiated an awareness campaign about childhood cancer. In addition, she led fellow students to organize two separate fundraisers supporting sick children, a cause very close to her heart.
She has recently joined the 3D Children’s Society as a junior board member. In addition, she serves as co-captain of her high school volleyball team, is a certified volleyball referee and is an active member of the Grad Council at school.
Erin does not let anyone or anything place limitations on what she can achieve. At age fourteen, she displayed incredible strength and maturity in approaching all challenges with grace and courage when diagnosed with cancer. In doing so, she became not only a leader but also a teacher. Seeing her leadership potential, she was asked by teachers from a local school to share her story about maintaining positive mental health amidst challenges with over 200 students in grades 5-9.
No challenge is too big or small for Erin. In setting a personal goal to return to playing volleyball after two years of intensive chemotherapy, Erin has served as an example that hard work, a healthy lifestyle and a positive mindset can lead to excellent results. Simply put, she is intentional in choosing her actions to give back to the community that has given her so much.
Erin is a young lady with incredible self-discipline and perseverance. Despite her recent illness and a hectic schedule, she is an academic scholar, a trusted friend, a tutor to younger students, an athlete, and an advocate for causes she believes in.
In doing and learning, she distinguishes herself as a leader who blazes a trail for all those wishing to join her in hopes of becoming more for themselves and others.
Erin is quoted as saying, “I am just out, living my best life!”
Erin’s charity of choice is 3D Children’s Society
Charla volunteers with GP Youth Voices, an advisory committee to GP Youth Hub. She is one of the founding members of the committee. Her experiences and input are very important in the implementation of new programs in Youth Hub. Charla is also active with other groups and events in the community such as Overdose Awareness Day and CBYF.
Through the support group Charla inspired and helped create, it will change the lives and mental wellbeing of countless youth in our community.
Charla has taken a difficult situation in her life and used it in a way to inform and help other youth, so they do not go through the same experiences
“Her bravery and voice are an inspiration”
Charla’s charity of choice is Sunrise House
Perseverance Award Recipients
Tinodaishe is the winner of the 2021 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Perseverance. Tinodaishe attends École Montrose School.
Within and beyond her school community, Tinodaishe is a bright light that lives her core values daily. She is a kind, empathetic leader who steps up every day to support and improve the lives of others.
Life has not always been easy and simple for Tino. Having lost her mother at age three and her father at age nine, Tino has experienced profound loss, discrimination, and hardship at a very young age. Yet, she displays incredible maturity beyond her years in her approach to life and challenges.
Tino works tirelessly to make her school a better place by volunteering on school committees, helping younger students, and taking leadership roles to initiate projects to give students a voice. She possesses the rare quality of knowing that small, daily acts of love can lead to positive changes and the creation of strong, resilient communities.
Tinodaishe’s charity of choice is the Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital
Emily is the winner of the 2021 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Perseverance. Emily is 16 years old and has attended homeschooling for the past two years.
Throughout Junior high, Emily endured bullying from her peers, which is why she decided to homeschool. Staying motivated last year, Emily completed grade 10 a month early and received all her credits. This school year, in 8 weeks, Emily has half completed her grade 11 courses.
Emily is the second oldest in a family of 6 children and two proud, loving parents. She tries hard to help her parents around the house and spend time with her siblings.
Emily keeps herself goal-driven and dreams big. She also enjoys pow wow dancing throughout the summer months, dancing all over Alberta and at Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene powwow.
Emily has been part of the Pitone youth group for several years and volunteering her cooking skills and time to many events over the years.
She volunteers within her home community of Sturgeon Lake for cultural events, and she has sat on the Western Cree Tribal Council as a youth rep for her area.
She even finds time to volunteer at her mother’s organization, the Knowledge Tree for early learning.
Emily’s Charity of choice is the Pitone Youth Group at the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre
Volunteerism Award Recipients
Locklan is the winner of the 2021 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Volunteerism. He is 14 years old, attending grade 9 at the John Paul 2 Catholic School.
Locklan has grown up in the Friendship Centre movement, and he has been a quiet helper at events and within the community. As a staff member’s child, he is given many opportunities to volunteer, each with the option to decline.
Locklan is an active member of the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre’s Pitone Youth Group and often helps with any community events that the youth group participates in. During the pandemic, he was vital in helping with the delivery of Senior care hampers. The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre thanked him with an honorarium for his hard work. However, when we could not do that with our last round of hampers, he continued to volunteer, showing that the possibility of money wasn’t his motivation for his help.
Locklan shows that even with social anxiety and non-verbal communication, you can still make a difference because there are no small roles when giving back to your community.
Locklan’s charity of choice is the Pitone Youth Group at the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre
Kayla is the recipient of the 2021 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Volunteerism. She is 17 years old and currently attending grade 12 at the Grande Prairie Composite High School.
Since she has been old enough to volunteer, Kayla has been volunteering at the Grande Prairie Public Library.
She did three summers of Reading Buddies with the Library, where she worked with younger kids on helping them read more confidently. As a Reading Buddy, Kayla didn’t just volunteer for one session a week; she volunteered for as many sessions available.
Most recently, Kayla has joined the Library Initiative for Teens in the role of Shelf Manager every week, making sure that the teen area is organized and cleaned. In addition, Kayla takes on any extra duties offered to her. As one of our oldest volunteers, she sets a strong example for the younger volunteers, and they all look up to her.
Kayla’s ultimate goal is to be an ESL teacher overseas, and her passion for inspiring youth has shown in her volunteer work at the Grande Prairie Public Library.
Everything Kayla does is to inspire and instill a love of reading in the people around her, especially the younger people.
Kayla’s charity of choice: Kids with Cancer Society