Now in grade 11, a few things have happened since the Youth Summit. Last year I applied for the CIBC YouthVision Scholarship, and in May of 2013 I found out that I had been accepted. I was the only student that applied from Eastern Ontario that made it in. In July 2013 I had the opportunity to go to Toronto and meet the other YouthVision Scholarship winners from all over Canada. Ever since these wonderful opportunities, I occasionally host or speak at my local agency’s events, I’ve kind of become their local ambassador.
Over the summer, through this scholarship, I was able to mentor at a summer program that our agency and our local food bank teamed up on to create. I spent the whole summer mentoring kids and running around in the sun. This was perfect. I really enjoyed it, and it linked back to my action plan perfectly. I really wanted my action plan to be about providing underprivileged kids with opportunities they wanted, such as sports or summer programs or things they were interested in. It felt good to know that I could do that and still have fun, and know that these kids appreciated what I was doing. I has the opportunity to see how much they enjoyed what the other mentors and myself were doing for them.
Finally, over March Break, I had the amazing opportunity to go Guatemala for an exposure trip. It was incredible. I spent time at an orphanage and help underprivileged kids there as well.
What have you learned from your time at the youth summit (be honest) and have you been able to apply any those learnings in your life and if so, how?
I learned more about public speaking, which has proven to be helpful for me seeing how I now do more public speaking than I ever did before. It also taught me to believe in myself. The best part about the entire summit was having a group of strangers believe in me. That is something that has stuck with me. If I can have a group of strangers believe in me, then I should believe in myself.
Reflecting back, my favorite memories were seeing kardinal Offishall and Karl Wolfe perform [at a surprise concert hosted by WestJet], and the games that we did our last day. I cried…a lot…but I loved them and they have stuck with me. The feeling I got from my group, my family, has stuck with me.