Each year, CHFT awards the Diane Frankling Award to youth for their important and positive contributions made by mentoring youth in our co-operative communities.

This year Neilson Creek had 2 Winning Nominees for the award and we wish them both the best of luck.

The nominations for this year are:

RhiannonGordonRhiannon Gordon is only 17 years of age, but she has been actively involved in mentoring and supporting youth from the age of 13.

She began to mentor, lead and be a role model for youth in 2011, when she was asked by CDI (Child Development Institute) to volunteer as a mentor and role model for young girls (ages 6-11) in a program called Girls Growing Up Healthy. This program aims to strengthen mother/daughter relationships at the critical pre-teen stage and addresses the challenges of physical development, puberty, positive body image and healthy relationships.

After working with the Girls Growing Up Healthy, Rhiannon completed Youth Leadership and Counselor in Training programs through Toronto Parks and Recreation – through this door opening, Rhiannon volunteered her time and passion to Sports adventure camp for children ages 6-12. She also volunteered in Adapted Adventure Camps for youth and young adults with disabilities and special needs.

Rhiannon is a strong advocate for community youth positivity and development – she has stated that helping and encouraging youth today, will build a strong foundation for tomorrow. Rhiannon has been a member with the city of Toronto’s Youth Advisory Councils – where youth have a voice in community, municipal and provincial decision making.

Rhiannon is also an avid soccer player. She has played Rep soccer since the age of 7, with Scarborough United and Just For Kicks. Because of her love for the game, and for the positive life skills that she believes soccer and sports can brings into kids lives, she has volunteered her weekends, summer and winter, to mentor and coach boys and girls ages 4-12.

During high school, Rhiannon has been a supportive student, volunteering her time to S.A.S.S.Y ! – Students Against Sexual Stereo Types, Yeah! Advocating, supporting and educating others, in a safe and non-judgemental environment about tolerance, respect and equality of all individuals – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion.

Presently, Rhiannon continues as a mentor in the Miss Media Mentorship program through the YWCA Toronto Girls Centre. I have attached a letter from the program worker, Andrea Bruner, summarizing what this program is about, Rhiannon’s role and the positive impact that her involvement is making to the lives of the young girls she mentors.

Rhiannon, as a teenager, shows great character, integrity & diversity in her mentoring and contributions towards youth within our community. She is a “pay it forward” person – volunteering her time and life because she genuinely cares and wants to make a difference in any way that she can.

KaaleenKaaleen Joseph … a Blogger, a Writer and a Community Contributor to say the least has simply made a significant difference in the Scarborough Community and surrounding areas and continues to do so.

As an Alumni member of the TC3 Toronto Children’s Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company and an active member at the Heron Park Baptist Church’s nursery, Kaaleen supports youth of the community when time permits by participating in child and youth programs.

During Kaaleen’s high school years, she participated in 3 musicals once in an ensemble of cabaret, once as a police officer in Anything Goes and in her final year as a wicker sham brother in Suesical the Musical. What else, you ask? Kaaleen also served on the music council during her 4 great years at Mowat Collegiate.

In 2013-2014, at the early age of 23, Kaaleen served on the Neilson Creek Co-op Board of Directors and was the liaison to the Social Committee. Her participation on the Board was highly appreciated by fellow Board members and staff alike, for her willingness to question and discuss matters at hand. Her youthful and awe was a fresh outlook on the Board. Kaaleen has also served on the membership committee for 3 years and offers a younger person’s point of view and voice on the committees.

In April of 2014, Kaaleen played a key role in a community assessment team for Scarborough East, covering Wards 43 & 44. The team was comprised of various members of the community including religious leaders, retired missionaries, Police Division 43 & Joseph Brant Public School. The team interviewed community groups, volunteers, parents, youth, police, teachers and residents of the community. The findings were published in a report and distributed throughout the community and with community leaders.

Kaaleen continues to support the community and Toronto as a whole this year, by Volunteering for the Pan Am Games as the Venue Communications Centre Supervisor for Beach Volleyball.