Brandon and Carlie: Rainbow Youth Leadership Recipients 2016

Jul. 18, 2016

On Saturday, July 16, 2016, London Community Foundation and Pride London teamed up once again to present the Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary. In previous years, this bursary went to only one youth, but this year it recognized two deserving youth, Brandon Christian and Carlie Thompson.

The Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary honours an area high school student for accomplishments and contributions the nominee has made to the community. Award recipients balance being a student and being a leader, and have demonstrated a commitment or significant contribution to developing tolerance and acceptance of London and area’s LGBT2 or any community group represented under the diverse Rainbow banner. 

Brandon, a soon-to-be graduate of Clarke Road Secondary, has shown determination, adversity, and a drive for inclusivity since he was young. After his father leaving the family home in 2008, a date vividly etched in his memory, Brandon acknowledges that it did a lot of damage, but that he simply “just kept going.” As he became older, he became more involved in his community.

Brandon has been part of the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) for three years, spent two years with the Sea of Pink Anti-Bullying Campaign, and has taken part in raising funds for World Vision for five years. Brandon did not stop there though. He was nominated –and won– a Safe Schools Award for his skit against homophobia in youth.

Graduating Parkside honour roll student Carlie Thompson was also recognized for her leadership and commitment to developing tolerance and acceptance of the LGBT2 community. Since grade nine, Carlie has been making a positive impact in her community.  She has been involved with Student Council since grade 9, and in her final year she held the Vice President position. Since grade 9, she has been involved in Parkside’s GSA, in addition to TVDSB Safe Schools.  She has used her role as the St Thomas Times Journal Parkside reporter to share the successes and triumphs of Parkside students with the broader community.

Carlie has gone above and beyond in her school environment, creating buttons for students to inform them of the identities under the LGBTT2 umbrella, leaving money throughout the school for students to purchase food rather than go hungry, promoting and organizing Sea of Peak and IDAHOT Day of Silence, and taking a lead for creating lunch time activities during Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, including the Pledge to End Bullying. She has received the TVDSB Leadership in Safe and Accepting Schools award, in addition to the Rotary Club of St. Thomas’ E. Frank Sanders Student Above Self Award.

Pride London Festival believes that London and area has a bright future, with great leaders like these two.

Vice-President Chad Callander says that “we are continuously impressed by the work being done by students. There is no doubt they will go on to accomplish great things.”

Brandon and Carlie, thank-you for your hard work, continued commitment to the betterment of our community, and your continual belief of acceptance of the LGBT+ community. Congratulations! We wish you all the best in the future!