A healthy community does not just mean one thing. It means people. Vibrant people do and see and give.
Princeton Healthy Initiatives for Children and Youth is one group that holds many vibrant people under its umbrella. Its goal has been to utilize education, information, skills and numbers for the greater good. The Riverside Centre was full of professionals who have made it their job to make the lives of youth in Princeton better and brighter.
Rosemary Clarke emceed the event with the help of a few others. Clarke administers the Stopping the Violence Program along with other important programs. She was there along with many to celebrate some of Princeton’s finest people with an Youth Asset Development Awards Ceremony.
“Twenty-five years ago, a couple of churches got together to try and help dysfunctional families,” said School Trustee Ken Heuser. “The social workers had trouble connecting with some of the parents, but were connecting with the kids. It was through these beginnings that a study discovered that if a youth has five unrelated adults to help them, they will do well. We are the second community in B.C. to recognize youth with an asset development program. It really does take a village to raise a child. We have a responsibility and the kindness to do that for people. We are the assets to children in this community.”
Clarke took a moment to recognize Penny Schreckenberg for her outstanding contributions to the community. “Penny’s work ethic for her job went above and beyond,” stated Clarke. “Her drive and initiative brought many programs here.”
Lisa Thompson was pleased to recognize Bob Coyne for his contributions to the community. “Bob is an instructor at China Ridge Trails and their vice president. He can always be counted on to lend a hand. Bob volunteers a lot of his personal time to the community and is well liked and well respected. He is a Princetonite at heart.”
Shirley Low received the second award. “We are so lucky to have so many good people in our community,” said Jessica Kaiser. “The John Allison School Community Garden is a wonderful program that has been so much work and time for Shirley. The children feel proud of themselves when they work their plot and we are really thankful to Shirley for making the garden a part of our community.”
Low was quick to thank all the many volunteers who helped her. “There are many people behind the garden and they all need to be thanked too.”
Nadine McEwen handed over the award to Dean Johnston for not being “a dad who just sat in the bleachers.” Johnston was instrumental in the comeback of basketball in the community. “Dean has been very supportive of a great number of kids.”
McEwen was emotional when she spoke of her mentor Ken Heuser who also received an award. “Ken always puts kids first. He is a real champion in our community and he is very passionate about the importance of asset building in our community.”
Lisa Thompson gave out the last award to Trenna MacLeod for her solid support of the Bike Park. “Trenna always has a big smile on her face. She decided to make the vision of a Bike Park a reality and has worked tirelessly to do that ever since.”
From educators to coaches, the message was united from this powerful group. They care. Although not everyone received an award, the room was full of talent and greatness. They will continue their fight for the youth of the community and together they will make it a battle worthy of watching develop and transform.