Gardner received her award before the WE Day Vancouver event in November. (Contributed)

Volunteer award for Garibaldi secondary senior

Victoria Gardner a leader in ME to WE group.

Victoria Gardner of Garibaldi secondary has earned a Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers.

The Grade 12 student is a long-serving member of Garibaldi’s ME to WE team and was nominated by the group’s teacher-sponsor, Carlos Silva.

“Simply, Victoria has been a wonderful ambassador for our group. Her leadership is often the inspiration and motivation that our group draws from to take action. Victoria has worked tirelessly to make our school a better place while also bringing attention to important issues that affect our community and the world at large,” said Silva.

The medal recognizes the “exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields and pays tribute to the dedication and commitment of volunteers.”

Gardner has also volunteered with Special Olympics bowling, the Pirates special needs softball team, Pitt Meadows elementary after-school programs, and at Ridge Meadows Hospital, providing company for seniors.

She said her mom has been her role model when it comes to volunteering and she’s always followed mom’s life motto: Be kind to everyone.

“I just love doing it. I find joy in making other people’s lives easier, helping them out,” Gardner said.

We Day co-founder Craig Kielburger presented the Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers award to Gardner during a ceremony before the WE Day Vancouver event in November.

Gardner was impressed by the other young people in the room who also received awards.

“These are the leaders of tomorrow.”

Gardner joined Garibaldi’s ME to WE group in Grade 8 and has become one of its leaders. The group has raised money to build a school and water well in Ecuador and is now raising money to provide health care in Kenya.

The students raise money through food drives, clothing drives, bake sales, fun nights at the school and recycling refundable containers at Garibaldi, something Victoria and her friend Maddy do every Friday.

Members of this dedicated student group have also participated in 30-hour famines and vows of silence to raise awareness for important global causes.

“I like to think I’m a leader in the club,” said Gardner, who makes a point of empowering younger students in the club to become leaders so they can take on that role when she graduates.

After graduation, she will study physiotherapy at university in England and plans to continue volunteering.

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