United Way Greater Victoria celebrates youth with annual awards

United Way Greater Victoria is celebrating youth and their accomplishments with its annual YouthNow Awards next week.

United Way Greater Victoria is celebrating youth and their accomplishments with its annual YouthNow Awards this week.

At the 17th annual awards ceremony, United Way will dole out nine awards to youth between the ages of 11-29 who are working to better their community.

“It’s been really inspiring to see what young people are doing in our community,” said Heather Skydt, communications and marketing director at United Way Greater Victoria. “It’s been great seeing the type of people who come forward and they’re ever inspiring to us at United Way.”

The awards include individual volunteer awards for different age categories, the green award, the big change award, the youth worker award, the youth friendly business award, the friendship award and the group volunteer award.

Harpreet Bhela is the chair of the YouthNow Council and sits on the committee responsible for selecting the winners.

“Sometimes it gets really difficult to choose someone when you’re like ‘these people are both great’, but it comes down to overall what they’ve done, how many people they’ve helped and how selfless they were,” said Bhela.

“It’s important to recognize youth in the community for what they’ve done because if you don’t, no one really knows what’s going on or what someone has done for everyone else around them . . . it’s nice to let them know ‘thanks so much, you’ve made a difference’.”

She added it’s a way to inspire them to give back to the community even more.

Past winners include Peyton Gust who worked with the Boys and Girls Club, Ammar Inayatali who organized the World Partnership Walk campaign and Emma Zabloski who volunteered at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association.

Over the past 17 years they’ve had more than 1,000 applicants, many of whom were nominated by family members, teachers or fellow youth workers.

The ceremony is Friday, May 29 at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre (3220 Cedar Hill Rd.) from 6-8 p.m.