Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers: 2013 Recipients
Established in 1998, the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers honours youth between the ages of 15 and 24 who have given a large amount of time to a charity, a not-for-profit organization or a person; and who have inspired other young people to volunteer. The medals are presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
This year, nine youth will receive the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers:
Janelle Brady of Toronto promotes access to higher education for youth in marginalized communities. She founded M.A.T.A. - Mentoring Arts Tutoring Athletics - to connect high school students with York University student mentors as a way to encourage education beyond high school.
Mariah Bunz of Wainfleet mobilized her entire community to support her proposal to the Aviva Fund competition to create a safe skate park after a fellow student was killed by a car while longboarding on the street. The skate park project was awarded the grant and the Town of Pelham matched the funds.
Alex Escobar of Etobicoke overcame a life that was taking him down the wrong path to become a mentor to grade 9 students at risk both academically and socially. He helped create his school's first ever blood donor clinic, became a safety ambassador and co-sponsored a petition to create a stolen cell phone registry for students.
Tyson Grinsell of Fort Frances started a math tutoring program for grade 9 students in his high school, helping them to improve their marks and confidence. He focused on meeting the individual needs of each student in the classroom. He later expanded the mentoring program to include all high school math students preparing for their exams.
Mohsin Khan of Toronto raises awareness about social issues among young people in the communities of Regent Park and Moss Park. He co-founded and is the executive director of Lead2Peace, a youth leadership program that teaches students about social issues and encourages them to find solutions.
Josie Linton of Sunderland promotes agriculture and rural life through the Durham West Junior Farmers Club. An active volunteer, she also helped the Canadian Cancer Society to support cancer research, having contributed to Relay for Life events in North Durham since she was 15.
Jean-Phillippe Vinette of Rockland is an environmental enthusiast who helped create a green roof on a municipal building located at the heart of his community. He convinced civic leaders to support his idea and secured sponsors to develop the project that improves his community's quality of life.
Haleigh Wiggins of South River promotes inclusion in the North Bay region. She helped connect people who have intellectual disabilities with Nipissing University students and other high school students by involving volunteers with the Best Buddies program.
Stephanie Zhou of Markham motivates other youth to get involved in community service. She created Power Unit Youth Organization at Queen's University, a youth-driven initiative that encourages young people to develop local philanthropic projects and raise funds to support them.