WE are so excited to announce the recipients of the first-ever annual Prince’s Youth Service Awards, in partnership with HRH The Prince of Wales. This incredible honour is given to Canadian youth who have dedicated themselves to changing the world by volunteering their time and creativity to causes in their local communities and around the world!
“It is so important that these efforts be recognised and celebrated, and that is what these awards set out to do. The motivation, commitment and dedication of the winners is truly inspiring and they make me enormously proud of what Canada’s remarkable young people can achieve.” – HRH The Prince of Wales
The Awards are divided into 4 categories:
- We Are Community Leaders Award
- We Are Global Leaders Award
- We Are Social Innovators Award
- We Are Agents of Sustainability Award
…and here are this year’s Prince’s Youth Service Award winners!
Pictured: Faith Dickinson (left), Jessica Mayes (right)
WE Are Community Leaders: Faith Dickinson
Hometown: Douro-Drummer, ON
Cuddles for Cancer founder, Faith Dickinson’s life motto “Everyone deserves a cuddle” has touched people all around the world. It all began when Faith gifted her Aunt, who was battling cancer, a handmade blanket. “She said when you are having chemotherapy treatments, you get bone chilling cold.” Faith expressed to us. “The blanket made her feel better as she fought for her life.”
Soon after, she was inspired to start Cuddles for Cancer, a foundation that sends Cuddle blankets to cancer patients and Canadian soldiers. Since then, she has made over 2,000 blankets that have been sent around the world, including Canada, France, Brazil, Australia and Africa!
WE Are Agents of Sustainability: Jessica Mayes
Hometown: Pierson, MB
After attending her first WE Day in 2012, Jessica helped found the Sustainability Group at her school. “The Sustainability Group has always been a very small group, so it amazes me that we have been able to accomplish so much!” she shared. They have implemented a compost program to fundraise in their community and their next project is their BIG: “My next project, which is only in the planning stage, is a sponsor-a-tree fundraiser. Last year there was a major flood in my town which killed a lot of trees around town and in the school yard. In order to green up the area again and raise money for a cause close to my heart I’m going to sell trees to businesses and groups around town.” WE are so inspired by her enthusiasm and passion for giving back to her community!
WE Are Global Leaders: Ashley Murphy
Hometown: Ajax, ON
From the young age of 10 years old, Ashley began to speak publicly about what it was like to grow up with HIV. “I started because I saw other HIV+ children whose families had to sell their homes and move and who were terribly bullied and ostracized,” she shares. Her bravery and perseverance has placed her center stage as an inspirational speaker, captivating audiences around the world including our very own WE Day events. Through her challenges, Ashley strongly believes that her positive attitude made all the difference: “One character trait that has helped me to overcome is optimism. I am an eternal optimist who sees the positive side of everything. I also work hard and never give up.”
WE Are Social Innovators: Brennan Wong
Richmond Hill, ON
Brennan Wong has made it his mission to empower young people! In July 2013, he founded Pledges for Change, encouraging youth to pledge to take action in their neighborhood. So far, he’s been able to collect 20,000 pledges, and was able to match them with $20,000 in donations to 10 local charities. “Young people who are disappointed by the lack of support for their ideas of change find it difficult to have their voices heard.” Brennan expressed. “By providing encouragement and rejecting the stereotype of young people, we can empower more youth to become progressive, compassionate citizens.”
A big thank you to our friends at RBC for sponsoring this year’s awards and for helping us recognize the world-changing actions of Canadian youth!
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! WE can’t wait to work with all of you this upcoming year to make an even BIGGER impact. For more information on the Prince’s Youth Service Awards, click here.