Saluting our youth

They are young–from kindergarten age to high school seniors. They are ordinary, yet they have done the extraordinary things that make a difference.
They are Ontario Junior Citizens.
Every year, community newspapers across the province seek out nominations of young people who have done those extraordinary things that make a difference in communities. Rainy River District has had several young people make the list of Ontario Junior Citizens.
Our heroes have included a young man who put his life at risk to pull a person out of the icy water to safety. Another hero was a young lady who, while over coming physical disabilities, showed that determination to help others could improve lives in the community.
During the annual awards ceremony one year in Toronto, I sat with the family of a seven-year-old boy was being recognized because he felt homeless people needed help and persuaded his family to go out on the streets in winter with nourishing soup for them.
And from that boy’s action, the community sprang forward to follow his example and put in place soup kitchens and opened hostels.
A year ago, I bumped into another young man who I had been introduced to a year earlier at a Junior Citizens ceremony. He and his father were touring a university campus he young man hoped to enter this past fall.
This particular young man suffered from hepatitis C but through his actions and challenges to the prime minister in the House of Commons, and collection of signatures from across the country, he helped play a role in providing compensation to hepatitis C victims in Canada.
Other young people have been recognized for assisting in helping youth, working with the disabled, working with seniors, initiating new school activities, rescuing distressed people, and comforting the injured.
The common thread through all the stories in the 20 years of the Ontario Junior Citizen Award program is that their age had not limited their ability to make a difference.
Across Rainy River District we, too, have those young people who are making a difference. We want to recognize their contributions to family, to schools, and to their communities.
We ask you to pick up nomination forms at this newspaper and nominate the best of our youth for the 2002 Junior Citizens Awards. Please join us in recognizing our finest youth.
Jim Cumming