Published July 25, 2016 15:36
A group of inspiring young leaders is continuing to push for equality and opportunity for others.
Kayla Lariviere, Kakeka Thundersky, Carly McFall, Nina Lam, and Tommy Semchyshyn recently accepted the inaugural Mayor’s Scholarship for Community Leadership awards for their service in the community. am, an aspiring international policy worker from South Pointe, received the scholarship for her work with disadvantaged youth and people with disabilities.
Speaking over the phone from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. where she is participating in the national month-long SHAD program, Lam said she was honoured to be chosen for the scholarship.
"I was so humbled and also very surprised," Lam said.
Lam works with the Boys and Girls Club to help students in Grades 1 through 6 enrich their academic abilities. She also spends time volunteering with SwimAbility, teaching adaptive swimming and at Special Olympics Manitoba training athletes in track and field.
"I would encourage people to strive to do the same," Lam said. "There’s no obligation to help somebody but it’s so fulfilling and it enriches how you see life and the community."
The 18-year-old said it was important for her to give back to the community and ensure opportunities are available for others.
"I’ve been very fortunate. I grew up in an area where a lot of people are impoverished," she said.
"When I was younger I saw the consequences of not having a support system. And so taking from those experiences, I didn’t want that path to be the reality for people in my community."
Richmond West’s Tommy Semchyshyn found confidence in helping others achieve their potential.
The 17-year-old St. Paul’s High School grad and quarterback was recognized for a series of athletic camps he launched and ran for the past three years.
"I think there was definitely a need for it, which I didn’t know right away," Semchyshyn said. "There are a lot of kids who attend Catholic schools but the thing is, they might not have enough money to do organized sports, and really this is a great way for them to get exercise and also have a safe learning environment to try a sport that they never tried before."
Semchyshyn says the free camps, called Junior Cru Sports Camp, have grown over the years to involve his fellow students as volunteer coaches. He hopes to keep the camps going and spread the reach as he goes on to study education at the U of M.
"Each year I want to improve the camp as much as I can and this upcoming year I’m trying to get another school on board. There’s a lot more I want to do," he said.
Sports have always been a source of courage for Semchyshyn and he hopes to pass on some of that on to younger athletes.
"I think what it gave me was tons of confidence. It gave me lifelong friendships and I think in a way sports can influence people heavily," Semchyshyn said.
During the school year, 18-year-old Carly McFall dedicated her time to help comfort people going through cancer treatment in Manitoba.
The graduate of Shaftesbury High School is a regular volunteer with CancerCare Manitoba and is a summer student with the research institute of oncology and hematology.
"It doesn’t take that much for me to just show up and give refreshments to someone, but once you see the results of your actions — it really brightens a patient’s day — and that’s been very rewarding," she said.
McFall plans to study at the U of M to either become a doctor or lawyer but either way, helping others is at the top of mind.
"I’ve grown up in a good neighbourhood and I feel very blessed to be raised the way I have so I think it’s important for me to reach out and help," McFall said. "It’s important to find what you love doing and become passionate about helping others as well."