Abbotsford student receives Youth Philanthropy Award

Kourtnie Sohl recognized for her hours of fundraising and volunteering

Kourtnie Sohl (centre)

The Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF) has awarded the first Alan and Vivian Trethewey Youth Philanthropy Award.

The award was presented on Tuesday to Kourtnie Sohl, a Grade 12 student at Yale Secondary, during the annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon.

Sohl received the award in recognition of her many hours of fundraising and volunteering for a variety of programs in Abbotsford, including organizing the Run for Rest for Matthew’s House, a respite care facility for children with complex health-care needs and their families.

Sohl is also co-president of her school’s Key Youth Service Club and has raised funds for children’s cancer, helped with recycling for Operation Christmas Child, supported the Abbotsford Food Bank, and served as a peer tutor for Big Brothers and Big Sisters Upper Fraser Valley.

UBC student Samyta Rai was a runner-up for the award. She discovered, while visiting Raikot, India, that the village children were hoarding scraps of paper for their school work because they didn’t have enough school supplies.

She returned to Abbotsford and began fundraising online, through pizza sales and approaching local organizations, until she had raised $3,000. Rai returned to Raikot with the supplies she purchased for the school, and distributed them to the children.

Diana Hiebert, who was also a runner-up, has volunteered at The Reach Gallery Museum since 2012, serving in a variety of roles from gallery attendant to assisting with exhibition installations.

More recently, she served as the curator of programming for the Emerge Program, leading a team of other volunteers who support aspiring artists ages 16 to 30 in Abbotsford.

The award was presented to Sohl by J.O. Trethewey (brother of the late Alan Trethewey) and his wife Marlene, who filled in for Vivian Trethewey, who wasn’t able to attend.

Sohl received a framed certificate and a $500 donation for the charity of her choice. She selected Matthew’s House, and presented the cheque to Karyn Santiago, CEO of Communitas Support Society, which operates the facility.

The theme for this year’s National Philanthropy Luncheon was Celebrating Volunteers and featured a panel discussion on the contributions made by volunteers both locally and around the world.

The discussion featured Larry Stinson, past district governor of Rotary District 5050; Rod Santiago, executive director of Abbotsford Community Services; and Stan Petersen, vice-president of the Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games.

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