SHAWNA Narayan of Surrey, who has been featured in The VOICE several times over the past few years, is one of 19 British Columbians who will be receiving the Province’s Medal of Good Citizenship for their outstanding community service.
Premier John Horgan said on Tuesday: “It is an honour to congratulate these community leaders whose commitment helps strengthen our society. The Medal of Good Citizenship awards recognize these individuals and their remarkable contributions to our communities and our province as a whole.”
Launched in 2015, the Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life.
“Everyone receiving medals today embodies the best qualities of being a British Columbian,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and chair of the medal’s selection committee. “All of us on the selection committee were impressed by the generosity, compassion and sacrifice each and every one of the recipients has demonstrated. Congratulations to all honourees.”
Medal of Good Citizenship recipients come from every corner of the province: from Quathiaski Cove to Queen Charlotte, Nelson to 150 Mile House, North Vancouver to Kelowna and Langford to Port Alberni, demonstrating that B.C. communities are full of people doing good things for the benefit of their communities.
The other recipients are: Selen Alpay of Prince George, Alberta (Wadzeed) Billy of Quathiaski Cove, Joan (Bays) Blackhall (posthumous) of Langley, Suzanne Bolton of Vancouver, Edward Dickins of Kelowna, Stephanie Fischer of Nelson, Fran Fowler of Queen Charlotte, Joyce H. Fraser of Princeton, Ronald Allen Greene of Oak Bay, Michael O. Langridge of Saanich, Beth Laur of Langford, Brandon Laur of Langford, Darren Laur of Langford, Peggy Lee of Vancouver, Stan McCarthy of 150 Mile House, Lois Nahirney of North Vancouver, Sylvie (Silvakantie) Pather of North Vancouver, and Kris Patterson of Port Alberni.
Shawna Narayan’s citation:
As a young woman from a diverse city, Shawna Narayan showcases what the next generation is capable of by helping inner-city students with similar difficulties that she overcame.
Shawna Narayan created Empower The Future (ETF), a non-profit organization that connects inner-city students with post-secondary students to encourage personal and academic growth. She recognized that many inner-city students like her do not have the support, knowledge or resources needed to continue their learning whether it is through full-time careers, volunteering or higher education. She wanted to provide these students with the same opportunity that other students have, so she connected with the Surrey School District to help make a difference in the lives of Surrey’s high school students.
Narayan also organized the Life After High School Project where students are mentored in five main topics:
– dealing with financial stress;
– finding credible information about post-secondary education;
– preparing to enter the workforce;
– searching for quality volunteer opportunities; and
– caring for yourself.
Her Life After High School Project gained the support of the University of British Columbia through a $10,000 innovation grant. Other supporters of the project include the Vancouver Foundation and the Government of Canada. This year, more than 300 students have participated in the Life After High School workshop.
Narayan also launched a Women in STEM project to encourage more inner-city females to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The project is supported by a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant.
Shawna has volunteered over 4,000 hours for ETF and other projects while at the same time attending UBC full-time studying for a bachelor of science in physics.
She has consistently demonstrated exemplary volunteer work, academic excellence, and a strong commitment to helping others and making a difference in the community around her.