Lt. Gov. awards Ontario Junior Citizen Awards for 2013

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Mar 10, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe


Ontario’s Lt. Gov. David C. Onley honours the young people who earned the 2013
Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA) Junior Citizens award.

The final twelve recipients of the Ontario Junior Citizens Award were recognized during a special ceremony in Toronto March 6. The group received their awards from the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in his Suite at Queen’s Park.

Making a difference – one star at a time. Inspiring others – one star at a time. Building community – one star at a time. Ontario’s young stars are shining brighter than ever! The 12 final recipients of the 2013 Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards are an amazing group of individuals whose leadership, ideas, creativity and generosity are fine examples of the outstanding youth of today. These finalists represent a diverse group ranging in age, interests and backgrounds – but one thing they all share is their desire to make a difference, both locally and globally.

The final recipients and their families will be invited to a special ceremony in the spring.

This year, nominations came pouring in from across Ontario. All of these wonderful nominees are being recognized with certificates by their local community newspapers. Each and every one of the young individuals nominated goes above and beyond what is expected of someone their age.

The Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards are promoted through the 300+ member newspapers of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) with the support of corporate sponsors TD Bank Group and Direct Energy. Nominations of eligible youth aged six to 17, are received through member community newspapers committed to recognizing the outstanding leaders who are making a difference in their communities. Nominees may be involved in community service; young people who are contributing to their community while living with a physical or psychological limitation; or individuals who have performed acts of heroism or bravery. Candidates are also recognized for being ‘good kids’ who show a commitment to making life better for others. A panel of judges unanimously agreed on the final award recipients.

Below is a synopsis of the 12 final recipients listed in alphabetical order:

Zachary Blatman, 16, Thornhill

Zachary is a leukemia survivor. In an effort to help others battling the disease, he began a charity in his own name and has so far helped raise over $65,000 for the cause. But his fundraising initiatives don’t stop there. In 2011 he raised roughly $20,000 for the United Jewish Appeal through telethons and canvasing. Zachary’s 900 volunteer hours have also been obtained through his work as a leisure buddy with the City of Vaughan, providing support to children with special needs and participation on the Youth Ambassador Council for the Canadian Cancer Society. In addition, Zachary manages to maintain an impressive 96% average in school.

Hannah Bywater, 13, Callander

At the age of six, Hannah decided she wanted to help save the sea turtles of Bali, Indonesia from extinction. In the beginning, she asked for donations in lieu of birthday gifts. Since then she has made bracelets, set up lemonade stands, created a website, done public speaking and sold small wooden carved turtles for what has now accumulated to more than $10,000 for the cause, which now also includes saving the orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia. In August 2014, Hannah will travel to Kenya as part of the Me to We Program, where she will help build a school and wells for people in need.

Faith Dickinson, 11, Lakefield

Faith created Cuddles for Cancer when she was just nine years old. After hearing that cancer patients often got cold during their treatments, Faith came up with the idea of making fleece blankets, hoping it would bring patients warmth, comfort and love. Since then, she has raised over $10,000 to help her make 500 of her cuddle blankets. They have been sent all across Canada, the U.S. and to France, England and Australia. She has also created a signature ‘soldier’ blanket for soldiers overseas and those suffering from injuries or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She recently launched a campaign called Kids at Christmas, asking the community to sponsor a child to ensure every child admitted to her local hospital is given a cuddle blanket on Christmas Eve.

Thomas Glatzmayer, 11, Manotick

Tommy is inspired to spread the message about the importance of acceptance and inclusion “for all of the Melanie’s out there” because of his older sister Melanie, who has Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). He has helped write two books titled Melanie and Tommy Have Two Pet Rats and One Syndrome. Tommy has spoken about CdLS to thousands of people during more than 60 presentations at schools, hospitals, conferences and fundraising events in Canada and the U.S. In addition, Tommy and his sister sell dolls and rat jewelry to help fund research for the CdLS Society.

Kelsey Hroch, 17, Sault Ste. Marie

In 2010, Kelsey began making bookmarks and selling them to raise money for the Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH). Since then she has expanded her products to key chains and zipper pulls. She has been able to contribute $32,100 to the ARCH, becoming the one of the largest contributors to the Hospice. In addition, Kelsey has organized and participated in Relay for Life for the past six years, participated in the Rotaryfest parade, helped with the float for the Hospice and she is currently helping to organize Cuts for Hospice. This is an event at her high school that was previously called Cuts for Cancer but she has inspired the school to make it a joint fundraiser.

Sarah Jones, 16, Guelph

Sarah is one of the founding youth of GLOWW with the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin Branch. As a result, she has brought an increase to mental health awareness for young people. Sarah has struggled with her own mental health, but has overcome this obstacle to speak in front of large audiences about her experience. She helped design and promote a bracelet campaign across all of the high schools in Wellington County to spread awareness of mental health. She is also a strong advocate for social media within the agency.

Anna-Sofia Lesiv, 16, Nobleton

In 2011, Anna-Sofia created a project called The Youth Informer, an online news network used to educate students about current events written in engaging and comprehensive articles. By presenting youth information in a way they find appealing, Anna-Sofia is aiming to solve youth disinterest in current events. She is providing young people with an outlet for writing and journalism in a platform where they may express themselves. Through the site, she has created The Knowledge Fund which collects donations to purchase computers for resource-poor schools in Ukraine. So far this fund has raised over $2,000.

Brody Longmuir, 17, St.Catharines

In 2013, as Student Council President of his high school, Brody initiated and implemented a way to generate funds for upcoming school events and projects. The ‘Raider Card’ – essentially a sticker placed on the back of a student card – offers students with valuable discounts at local businesses and gives them access to special school promotions including buy-outs for football games, price reductions for school dances and participation in ‘out of uniform days’. Each ‘Raider Card’ is sold for $20 and has been a huge success. So far over 575 cards have been sold, earning the school $12,000.

Jonathan Marcello, 16, Barrie

Jonathan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2010. Despite his own struggle, he decided he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, raise funds and bring awareness about the disease. As a result, the Crohn’s and Colitis Hockey Tournament: Play for a Cure was born. Within three years, the hockey tournament raised over $30,000. In addition, Jonathan is an ambassador for Robbie’s Rainbow, an organization dedicated to improving the health and quality of children living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. He has raised over $4,000 for this foundation.

Justina Marianayagam, 17, Mississauga

Justina lives with fibromyalgia, a chronic wide spread pain syndrome which makes everyday tasks a challenge. This young lady is committed to overcoming her own obstacle and continues to give back to others. After being elected as Student Council President within her high school, she helped organize a school drive, collecting 751 pounds of food items for her local Food Bank. Justina continues to volunteer at the Food Bank and also dedicates her spare time to a local homeless shelter, preparing and serving hot meals to those in need.

Bailey Whitehouse, 17, Augusta

Bailey has volunteered an impressive 1,500 hours with various organizations since she began high school. By visiting local businesses and asking if they would place donation cans on their counters to help raise money for ‘Hearts for Hannah’, a little girl in need of a heart transplant, Bailey was able to raise $1,500 in just two days. During the Holidays, Bailey also visits local nursing homes to sing, makes baked goods and distributes gift bags filled with toiletries and candies. Even more impressive, Bailey manages to find three hours a night, after completing her paper route and homework, to make tray favours for Meals on Wheels.

Connor Withers, 8, Burlington

With help from his father, Connor builds birdhouses and sells each one for $20 to raise funds for the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation. After selling 10 of his birdhouses, he made his first donation of $200. But Connor didn’t stop there. In October, Connor and his Birdhouse Foundation participated in Treats in Our Streets, an event where he was able to sell enough birdhouses to raise $2,000. With the help of a local high school, businesses, a Facebook page Connor’s fundraising initiative has soared. A local printing company made it possible for birdhouses to be wrapped with company logos. Coco Cola, Walk Off the Earth and the Toronto Maple Leafs all had birdhouses made. Connor has now raised $10,000.


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