More than a half dozen young people were honoured virtually this week at the annual SASSY Awards.
The event – now in its 10th year – was originally planned to be held at Surrey City Hall earlier this year, but was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In an online-only format, seven winners were crowned Thursday evening in a number of different categories.
For arts and culture leadership, Abbie Dubé was honoured with a SASSY Award for her work volunteering in both her school “and the larger community,” where she worked with seniors, coached volleyball and worked with the City of Surrey’s Community Art program as a volunteer curator for a youth art exhibit. She then pivoted the exhibit to an online event after it was postponed due to COVD-19.
In the community service category, Joon Sohn was recognized for his work founding and leading a service group, Hold High the Torch, which honours Canadian veterans as well as fallen troops.
In addition to volunteering with youth, SASSY Award organizers noted that Sohn “has organized a wide range of activities and events while educating his peers about the sacrifices made by members of the Canadian military.” During the pandemic, he has also stayed in touch with veterans who are currently in long-term care, sending them cards and emails, and speaking with them on the phone.
Samuel Albert was recognized Thursday for his environmental leadership after serving as a youth ambassador for the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot Team, which is a national movement dedicated to ensuring that a healthy environment is a human right in Canada.
He initiated the “Grassroots Environmental Club” at his high school and developed a network of student environmental activists and leaders promoting environmental awareness and stewardship.
For international service, Sherry Sandhu was honoured.
In her first year at UBC, Sandhu established the UBC Wheelchair Club, which fundraised and organized the purchase and delivery of 30 wheelchairs to people who need them in Costa Rica, India and Uganda.
Twelve of the wheelchairs bound for Uganda were originally held up due to duties and taxes she was not able to pay for, but after organizing meetings with a range of politicians, including the federal minister of trade, she was able to get the taxes waived, a news release announcing the award winners notes.
Sandhu was inspired to created the club after she made a trip, at 15 years old, to deliver wheelchairs to villagers in Mexico.
The SASSY Award for overcoming adversity was given to Kristen Ricord, who “had a difficult upbringing, living in poverty and hardship for most of her life.” As a high-school student in Cloverdale, she found herself homeless and without support, but “through sheer determination” and support from an outreach program, she sought help and managed to secure for herself a place to live, while continuing with school and working part time.
At the same time, she continued to volunteer helping at-risk youth in Grades 5-8, and eventually became a leader in the Metro Kids Youth Impact program.
For sport and recreation leadership, Amberlee Moore was honoured for her work as a “grassroots soccer coach.”
Moore organized an alternative PE program to help “motivate kids through recreation and physical activity.”
“She continuously found ways to engage novice youth needing extra skill building while finding ways to challenge more experienced players. Amberlee is passionate about building a sport community that includes novice and experienced athletes in a supportive environment in the spirit of having fun,” the release notes.
The award for youth leadership went to Anna McNicholl, who after losing her father at a young age, ended up in foster care at the age of 14. After aging out of care, she found a place to live while continuing school part time, while also volunteering with the a Christian Life Assembly preteen program, where she “worked hard to make a difference in the lives of preschoolers and pre-teens.”
She graduated at the top of her class and went on to attend Langara College. Now graduated from college with a diploma in early childhood education, she works at a Surrey daycare while continuing to volunteer with youth.
The SASSY Awards honour individuals between the ages of 15-21 who live, work or study in Surrey and White Rock.
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