Get involved, starting in your city

The City of Brampton, Ontario (one of Canada’s fastest growing cities) recognizes citizens in the community who have made achievements throughout the year. There is everything from the Sports Achievement Award and the Arts Acclaim Award to the Long Term Service Award – for people who have volunteered for over 25 years!

This May, I was honoured to receive the Humanitarian Award. Local lawyer Rob Filkin was awarded Brampton’s Citizen of the Year (read his news article here).

I suggest you get involved  in your city, in one way or another. In Brampton, a selection committee of City Officials, Clergy, Media, Arts Council, Seniors Council and Parks and Recreation staff review nominations every year. More info about the awards is available on the Brampton website’s Awards page.

Citizens-Awards-2009 copyPersonally, I think there should be even more opportunities to award citizens. There are many everyday people, of all ages and backgrounds, that take the extra step that really counts. And with Brampton’s medium age being only around 33 years old, it is the youngest community in the GTA – which is perfect for more youth activism. The city does have a great Mayor who is very supportive of youth!

I have been thinking of  preparing youth awards through Speak Up for Change. Ones that could be awarded to everyday local citizens, making a difference. Yes, there are already plenty of scholarships and prestigious awards out there – but how accessible are they, really?

If you are interested in the idea of a Youth Activism Award, or something along these lines, please share. If you already know somebody who you’d nominate right away, then go ahead and tell!

Really this is not all about Brampton, and it’s not all about youth. It’s about being the change you wish to see in the world. Because if it’s not you, then who?