SOURCE: Free The Children

WE Day

May 19, 2016 07:00 ET

WE Day and Prince's Charities Canada Announce Winners of New Royal Awards to Celebrate Canadian Youth Making a Difference in the World

Faith Dickinson, Ashley Murphy, Brennan Wong and Jessica Mayes Are First Winners of The Prince's Youth Service Awards

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - May 19, 2016) - Today, Prince's Charities Canada and WE Day, on behalf of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, announce the winners of The Prince's Youth Service Awards, a brand new annual awards program that honours exceptional young Canadians who are taking positive actions in their local and global communities. The Prince has long believed in the potential of young people and the benefits of service, and is delighted to be making these inaugural awards.

Made possible through the support of RBC, the national awards are divided into four categories that celebrate the unique achievements of each winner, including: Local Community Development, Global Action, Social Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability. To honour the extraordinary achievements of these young people and inspire others to take action on causes that are important to them, the awards will be presented to the winners in front of thousands of their peers at WE Day 2016.

Winners include:

WE Are Community Leaders - Faith Dickinson, 13, Douro-Dummer, ON

Change can start at home. The recipient of this award is taking positive action in their community.

  • At 9 years old, Faith Dickinson discovered a way to help comfort others through her blanket-making initiative, Cuddles for Cancer. In the past three years, Faith has made over 2,000 "Cuddle blankets" for friends and people in need, near and far. Faith is passionate about social justice and shares her Cuddles journey with students across Toronto in an effort to inspire community action.

WE Are Global Leaders - Ashley Murphy, 18, Ajax, ON

Changing the world is possible. The recipient of this award is taking action on important global issues.

  • Ashley Murphy has lived her whole life with HIV AIDS. Ashley turned her struggle to strength by spreading awareness about the realities of living HIV positive with the hope of breaking the social stigma and one day ending mother to child AIDS transmission.

WE Are Social Innovators - Brennan Wong, 18, Richmond Hill, ON

Changing the world starts when you think outside the box. The recipient of this award uses innovative solutions to tackle social problems.

  • In 2013, Brennan Wong founded Pledges for Change, an organization empowering young people to step up and pledge to take action and create change around the world. Brennan's website is an online community where youth from across Canada and the world can make their pledge, share experiences and create awareness of issues with peers.

WE Are Agents of Sustainability - Jessica Mayes, 17, Pierson, MB

Taking charge of our planet's future is possible. The recipient of this award is dedicated to environmental stewardship and creative solutions to issues facing our environment.

  • Jessica Mayes is passionate about the environment and determined to improve her school's eco-footprint. Since founding her school's Sustainability Group, Jessica has helped create a greener community for her peers by replacing plastic recycling bags with reusable burlap bags, implementing a compost program in all classrooms, and updating recycling bins with a new water tight collection bin.

Together, The Prince's Youth Service Awards and WE Day recognize the commitment of a new generation of young leaders passionate about changing the world, and hope to inspire youth across Canada to build a brighter future.

The Prince of Wales said, "From my own experience as a volunteer coastguard and member of a cadet unit, I have always believed it can be of immense value for young people to be of service to others, to face challenging situations, and to learn and reflect on that experience. But, equally, it is so important that these efforts be recognised and celebrated, and that is what these awards set out to do. The motivation, commitment and dedication of the winners is truly inspiring and they make me enormously proud of what Canada's remarkable young people can achieve."

"The Prince's Youth Service Awards showcase inspiring and dedicated world-changing young people who call Canada home," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE Day. "These students have taken phenomenal, innovative actions to give back to local and global communities, but more importantly, they act as role models and inspiration to their peers. I am excited to see how the winners of The Prince's Youth Service Awards continue grow as the next generation of Canadian change-makers."

"On behalf of RBC, congratulations to the inaugural recipients of The Prince's Youth Service Awards," said Wayne Bossert, Deputy Chairman, RBC Wealth Management. "It's a privilege to support and celebrate these exceptional young Canadians who are actively building a better future for us all and inspiring others to do the same."

Award winners for each category were selected by a panel of judges made up of notable Canadians including Spencer West, ME to WE Motivational Speaker and Free The Children ambassador; Amanda Sherrington, President and CEO of Prince's Charities Canada; Barry Avrich, Partner, BT/A Advertising; Matthew Corrin, Founder and CEO of Freshii; Joe Mimran, Founder, Joe Fresh and Dragon, Dragons' Den; Mike "Pinball" Clemons, CFL Hall of Famer, Vice Chair of the Toronto Argonauts; David Martin, President, Horizon Capital Holdings Inc.; and Maureen Dockendorf, BC Ministry of Education Superintendent of Early Years.

Watch a special video message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales encouraging young Canadians to get involved here.

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About The Prince of Wales support for young people and service

The Prince of Wales has long believed in the potential of young people and in the benefits of service. In 1976, His Royal Highness founded The Prince's Trust in the United Kingdom, which this year is celebrating 40 years of supporting 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed, struggling at school or at risk of exclusion. The Trust's programmes give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping them develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by the Trust move into work, education or training, and last year HRH's desire to help went global, with the launch of Prince's Trust International.

About Prince's Charities Canada

In Canada, a dedicated office, Prince's Charities Canada, was established in 2011 to expand and enhance The Prince's Canadian charitable work. Prince's Charities Canada currently has 12 initiatives including those focussed on help for veterans who want to start their own businesses; engaging corporate leaders on youth unemployment; revitalizing traditional Aboriginal languages and the promotion of wool as a sustainable fibre. Working from coast to coast to coast, their initiatives touch on one or more of His Royal Highness's charitable priorities including: the built environment, education and young people, global sustainability, and responsible business. 

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