Two more outstanding youth recognized with the Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary!

Jul. 24, 2018

London Community Foundation is thrilled and proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary, granted from the Rainbow Youth Bursary Fund held at LCF. Honouring local high school students for their contributions and accomplishments to the community, specifically any group represented under the diverse Rainbow banner, is what the Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary aims to accomplish. This year, we couldn’t be prouder to share the stories of two compassionate young leaders receiving this honour, Sal Hill and Mason Robichaud.

Sal Hill, Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary recipient, with MPP Peggy Sattler

A young individual demonstrating great resiliency, Sal is a strong and dedicated advocate for the LGBT2Q+ communities. Sal attended Beal, taking an active role on their Beal Rainbow Raiders Gay Straight Alliance group.  Overcoming many hardships related to mental health and wellness, Sal is present and vocal, full of gusto and leadership.

Sal, in their time at Thames Valley Alternative Secondary School, took an active role in the TVDSB PRIDE Conference, not only in planning but also co-facilitating workshops for students and staff alike.  Sal created a digital graphic to celebrate two-spirited peoples, both historical and contemporary. Full of initiative, Sal also helped to lead awareness for Orange Shirt Day, a campaign focused on bringing more knowledge about residential schools to the community.

“Sal is a strong and dedicated advocate. [Sal has] worked diligently to bring knowledge regarding two-spiritedness and gender identity in the Indigenous community” – Lauren McLaughlin.

 

Sal’s continuous and dedicated involvement with the LGBT2Q+ community, leadership amongst their peers and dedication to their Oneida Nation of the Thames roots has been recognized in a multitude of ways. Sal attended the Global Student Leadership Summit, as well as the TVDSB Diversity/Eradicating Racism Conference.  Sal has also received an award from TVDSB recognizing his leadership in helping to establish a Culture for Learning (safe schools, mental health & wellness, equity and inclusive education).

Mason, the other recipient, grew up in a family struggling with finances, constantly moving.  At the age of six, Mason moved with his family from Nova Scotia to Ontario, but struggled to develop and maintain friendships during his elementary years, due to the frequent moves. Mason adapted the best he could and at the age of 16, he found housing through WAYS Mental Health.  Here, he contributes to the household, maintains all his responsibilities, pays rent and purchases his own food and basic needs.

Mason Robichaud, Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary recipient, with MPP Peggy Sattler

“Mason is a resilient young man.  Respectful, hard-working, confident, helpful, compassionate and intelligent.” – Bob Flemington

 

In the past three years, Mason has really come into his own.  At school, where he is well-liked and respected by peers and teachers alike, he’s been a part of the Beal Rainbow Raiders Gay Straight Alliance.  Outside of school, Mason has taken the initiative to lead LGBT2Q+ awareness presentations amongst WAYS Mental Health transitional program participants and management staff. These presentations not only include history, trivia and videos, but key suggestions on how to be a good ally as well.

For Mason, much of his involvement and leadership shines through with his church.  An active individual of the United Church of Canada congregation for three years now, Mason sits on multiple committees, volunteers as a librarian, teaches Sunday School and has also been a youth delegate for the London area. With this dedication, he’s used his leadership to help run the Pride Parade Picnic the past three years through his church. 

Both Sal and Mason have made a positive impact in our community, through the LGBT2Q+ groups and beyond.  We’re incredibly proud to have them honoured with a certificate and bursary to a Canadian post-secondary institution for their education at the Pride London Festival Award night on July 21st, 2018. Out of a pool of applications, they were both selected by the Awards Committee, as appointed by the Pride London Festival Organization.  You can find more details on the Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary here.

Once again, congratulations Sal and Mason! Thank you for dedicating so much time and passion into the community through your leadership supporting tolerance and acceptance of all groups represented under the diverse Rainbow banner.

"I’d like to say thanks to Pride London Festival and London Community Foundation for awarding me the Rainbow Youth Leadership Bursary! This is a terrific experience and I can’t wait to further my involvement in the LGBTQ+ community! I’d also like to shout a very personal appreciation toward the blessed staff at WAYS mental health support for all that they’ve done for me and for all the opportunities that wouldn’t be possible without them!" – Mason Robichaud

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