For the first time, the Maple Ridge Community Foundation held a Citizen of the Year Youth Award presentation, on Saturday at Thomas Haney secondary.
The winner was Ryder Moore, who was recognized for his Ryder’s Rainboots initiative.
Just eight years old, he was nominated by nine local residents. Two years ago, when he was six, Ryder began a unique fundraising program with his parents, after seeing a man without boots. He fundraises and works with generous manufacturers to prepare rain kits for those less fortunate. His kits include rain boots, socks, gloves, a poncho and a handwritten letter by Ryder.
He has a gofundme page to help support his charity work, and so far has $850 of his $5,000 goal this year. He has raised over $10,000 over the first two years of his campaign.
As the winner, Ryder got the opportunity to direct a $750 donation to the local charity of his choice, and he immediately chose the Salvation Army.
Monica Hampu the president of the Maple Ridge Community Foundation, said her group has done a Citizen of the Year award every year for the past 27, but it has generally recognized people with impressive lifetime service.
This year there will be three award categories: youth 18 and under, people under 40 and lifetime achievement.
Hampu said the young people nominated made the final choice difficult.
“They’re amazing. It was very hard to select a winner, because they’re all great kids with so many things they have done in the community already.”
The other two finalists were Gurleen Goraya and Marlowe Evans.
Guraya, 17, was nominated by her teacher, Steve Halfnights. She is being recognized for her volunteer work with the Maple Ridge Library, School District 42 summer school, a student aide at Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary School, and Baillie House at the Ridge Meadows Hospital. She actively volunteers while maintaining a very high academic average and a part time job.
Halfnights described her as hard working, determined and “a fantastic person.”
Evans, 18, was nominated by her principal Grant Frend and teacher Kristi Lauridsen. She is being recognized for her volunteer work as a student aide and peer tutor at Thomas Haney Secondary, a Model UN delegate, a Beaver Scouts leader, Royal Canadian Legion #88, All-Arabian Horse Association of B.C, and many other roles in the community.
“She really is a global citizen who is active in trying to change the world,” said Frend, adding her focus is also on making Maple Ridge a better place.
Sarah Moore said her son Ryder was impressed by the work of the other nominees.
“Today he said to me ‘there are kids doing some really cool things.’”