It was, simply put, an awesome night when airdrielife hosted the first-ever Awesome Airdrie Kids Awards celebration with all 11 recipients and their families at The Woods Restaurant in late January.
The room was boisterous and colourful thanks to the excited kids, the Avenue Cakery cupcakes and the bright-orange-and-purple theme found in the balloons, T-shirts, certificates and table toppers.
Everyone enjoyed a kid-friendly build-your-own-taco bar before publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt introduced each recipient to the appreciative crowd of more than 70 and announced the charity to which each kid chose to have airdrielife make a $50 donation.
The recipients (and their chosen charity) are: Gracie Brade (WE Charity); Riley Knapp (SPCA); Chelan Lees (Operation Smile); Tanisha Halverson (Alberta Children’s Hospital); Alex Gahagan (Airdrie Animal Shelter); Alyssa Besselt (Canadian Cancer Society); Rachel Engen (Airdrie Food Bank); Aiden Schell (Tails To Tell Animal Rescue); Maya Nisbet (Calgary Humane Society), Noah Carroll (Operation Smile); and Alexis Cyron (The Ellie Tims Project, Storybook Theatre).
Nominators were also present, including teachers and coaches. École Edwards principal Peter Fultz shared the sentiments of all in attendance. “What a great program, a great way to recognize these kids. We are already thinking about the kids we want to nominate for the 2018 awards.”
With smiles all around, Shaw-Froggatt felt this was the most rewarding experience of her publishing career. “This night just made my year. To see and feel the joy in this room, from a program we created, just reiterates that we are doing the right thing.”
Shaw-Froggatt credits the whole idea to good friend Nic Lacoursiere who, when discussing the already established Amazing Airdrie Women Awards (see page 119) with her, suggested airdrielife start a program to recognize inspiring kids. From there it became a program to recognize youth ages six to 14 who are role models for their generation.
“We look for kids who demonstrate determination, spirit, compassion, growth and leadership,” says Shaw-Froggatt.
“Our 11 recipients each had a great story from different backgrounds and experiences but one thing they all shared was compassion. This above all makes them heroes in my eyes, and they set the bar very high for the next round of nominations.”