British Columbia Rotarians make ‘service above self’ SASSY
Pop singer Victoria Duffield will headline an evening of performances by young local acts.
Canadian pop star Victoria Duffield is slated to headline a high-energy awards show this month, hosted by Rotarians in British Columbia to recognize the next generation of community leaders.
The Service Above Self Surrey Youth – SASSY – Awards program was created when Rotarian Bill Brooks worked with his club, the Rotary Club of Semiahmoo (White Rock), to celebrate local youth achievement. With a professional background in event management, Brooks knew that a show geared toward teens, with performances by rising music stars, dancers, and other acts, would build excitement and motivate young people in the area to participate. He worked with 30 Rotarians, Interactors, and Rotaractors to stage the first event last year.
“This is an awards program that involves youth for youth,” Brooks says. It’s also designed to promote Rotaract and Interact, he notes, because “the future of Rotary is with young people.”
The awards recognize outstanding residents of Surrey or White Rock, ages 16 to 21, for achievement in six categories: community service, humanitarian, youth leadership, athletic/sportsmanship, performing and visual arts, and against the odds.
A committee of Rotarians and community leaders selected this year’s six winners from more than 100 nominees. Each winner receives a trophy, $1,000 for his or her education, and $500 to donate to a charity of choice. These awards are supported by Rotary clubs in the area, including the Semiahmoo (White Rock) club, the Rotary Club of White Rock, and the Peninsula club, a New Generations club that has not been chartered.
By lining up Duffield, club members are hoping to turn up the volume on the awards show, 19 October. The 17-year-old performer, a native of Abbotsford, is climbing the music charts after appearing on a reality show and recording several hit singles. Also appearing will be FRESHH, a teen hip-hop crew and runner-up on Canada’s Got Talent, as well as a bevy of young performers from the Surrey and White Rock areas. MuchMusic VJ Sarah Taylor will deliver a keynote address on youth empowerment. Though Taylor is best known for interviewing rock stars,
she’s also a celebrity ambassador for Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl campaign, which seeks to break the cycle of
poverty and gender discrimination worldwide.
Brooks notes that a positive message is embedded in the performances: “We are feeding people broccoli, and they don’t even know they’re getting fed the broccoli. It’s all based on entertainment and a fun night.”
He expects close to 800
attendees, nearly double last year’s figure. Brooks credits
the surge to a fundraising
incentive that offered community youth organizations the opportunity to sell tickets to the event and keep a portion of the proceeds for their own projects. Sponsors cover the event and award costs, so all ticket proceeds benefit the club’s community projects and local Interact and Rotaract clubs.
“This is as much an event promoting awareness of the Rotary movement as it is a fund-raiser,” Brooks says.