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Recognizing our amazing youth

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The Celebration of Youth Awards is the YMCA’s way of recognizing outstanding members of the next generation.

Winners, who earn a cash prize, are selected for their commitment to community, being good role models for and excelling at what they do.

Over the summer The Journal is featuring 14 Sarnia-area winners, each of whom exhibits the values of caring, honesty and responsibility.


Kayla Roache – Business Development Award

Kayla Roache


Kayla Roache spent her final high school year at SCITS, where she made a significant contribution.  She participated in senior girls volleyball, Relay for Life, Captain Kidd Days, the Herb Lee Tournament, minor league coaching and helped with set design at Rebound’s performance of Beauty and the Beast.

She also participated in hockey, rugby and a three-month exchange to Switzerland. “Kayla consistently demonstrates a strong work ethic and a positive sense of morality,” her guidance counsellor said.

Kayla is very giving of her time and is most proud of her volunteer efforts in support of suicide prevention.  After losing a close family friend, she became involved in suicide prevention causes, helping organize a benefit for victim’s families and to “let the community know they are not alone and that people do care,” she said.

Kayla is a serious, conscientious worker with an 87% average in university level business entrepreneurship courses. She won awards in science, French, leadership, general proficiency and Academic Honours Awards during her three years at St. Christopher secondary.

Her goals are business related: apply to Sarnia-Lambton’s Economic Partnership Business Plan competition, attend Nipissing University to become a Certified General Accountant, and become a Forensic Accountant, analyzing balance sheets, and fraud detection.

“Kayla is a bright, kind and personable young lady who sets goals and works consistently toward success,” her guidance counsellor said.

EMILY VAN EERD — Excellence in Leadership Award

Emily VanEerd

Emily Van Eerd is rightly proud of her many accomplishments.  Her academic achievements and extracurricular participation are commendable, and her volunteer work in the community and abroad impressive. But she’s most grateful for her personal growth, which will enable her to be of even more assistance to others in the future.

At school, Emily was part of the Teen Leadership Committee and a member of Student Council. She worked on the Irish Miracle food collection project and is a volleyball team member.

In the community, she has given several hundred hours of time participating in YMCA Project Kenya, a year-long leadership training program with focus on community service and philanthropy.

During this time, she attended regular meetings designed to develop leadership qualities and promote teamwork, and was active in fundraising. In Kenya, she and a team of 19 Sarnia high school students helped construct a kitchen for a primary school.

Emily also works part-time at the YMCA in pre-school and youth/day camp departments to save money for university, as there is no funding available from home.

She hopes to become a lawyer and eventually work internationally to help minority groups attain more rights and a better way of life.

Emily’s determination, coupled with her great skill set will go a long way to help her realize her goals in life.














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