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Maple Ridge athlete wins first Katrina LeBlanc Game Changer award

Thomas Haney’s Anna Huber creates equitable opportunities at Taekwondo gym
In addition to practicing taekwondo, Huber is also an accomplished soccer player. (Special to The News)

A Maple Ridge taekwondo/ soccer athlete is the inaugural winner of the Katrina LeBlanc Game Changer award.

Thomas Haney Secondary’s Anna Huber, 16 is known for being a leader and a change maker in Maple Ridge.

The Grade 11 student is a first-degree black belt in taekwondo, and actively coaches at her local martial arts studio where she works to create equitable opportunities for female athletes within the sport.

Named after hometown hero Karina LeBlanc, retired Olympic bronze medalist and one of the longest serving soccer players for Canada, the BC Games Society award recognizes and celebrates young individuals who have created opportunities for underrepresented youth in their community to participate more fully in sport.

Maple Ridge residents may recognize Huber, who was recently featured on the cover of the Maple Ridge Parks, Recreation & Culture Spring 2020 Program Guide and named a Community Champion by her fellow neighbours.

“I volunteer because I truly believe it makes the world a better place,” Huber said. “Helping others and expecting nothing in return does not only better the world, but I find that it makes me feel like I am doing something that makes a difference.”

READ MORE: Karina LeBlanc Game Changer award nominations now open

Katrina LeBlanc extended her best wishes to Huber.

“Congratulations to Anna for being the first recipient of this award,” she said. “Maple Ridge truly has many incredible people and she is one of them.

“At such a young age she is already a game changer and you can tell she will continue to have an impact on our community, and I am sure the world one day.”

Maple Ridge’s mayor, Mike Morden also congratulated the young athlete.

“She’s made outstanding contributions to our community, both in sport and philanthropy, and is a role model for other young people around the province. Like the person this award is named after, Karina LeBlanc, Anna is an exemplary ambassador for our city.”

Huber’s long list of volunteer experience includes working at children’s summer camps with the Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre; with Thomas Haney Culinary Arts, Best Buddies, on her school’s Student Council; and with Eco-Action.

She is also a previous recipient of her high school’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative for her project advocating for equipment purchases for the Arcus Association for Community Living, an organization that raises funds for community members with diverse abilities, and Operation Trackshoes.

READ MORE: THSS winner donates $5,000 to charity

After graduating from high school Huber plans to attend university and study environmental science.

By winning this award, Huber said she hopes to set an example and inspire others to get involved in their communities.

“I will continue to work hard to break down barriers for those who are underrepresented,” she said. “Just like Karina LeBlanc, I hope to continue to create opportunities for others and inspire many more years of action.”

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