A young philanthropist from Lloydminster received high honours from the Alberta government on July 31 for her extensive volunteer work and community engagement. Jianna Marin, along with eight other high school graduates from the province, was handed the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Citizen Medal from Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell at a ceremony in Edmonton.
“It feels amazing,” said Marin, when asked about getting the honour. “On our way up this morning I went through the bios of the other students who are receiving this award as well and they have also done really amazing things, so I’m feeling really honoured to be on the same stage as all of these other students and excited to be recognized in Alberta for the efforts that I have made.”
See “Medal,” Page 14
In order to be a candidate for the accolade one must be awarded the Premier’s Citizenship Award upon high school graduation and have an excellent track record of volunteering, community engagement and leadership qualities.
Some of Marin’s activities included being the youth chair for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event, organizing drives for the Interval Home, creating the group Create the Change, which she represented at two different leadership conferences, and some successful work in provincial tobacco reduction.
Marin says she was brought up in a family that was volunteer oriented and raised to help people in need, which led to her interest in charity.
“Just growing up I was used to the concept of ‘if somebody needs help with something you help them with it’. If there’s anything extra you can do for other people you do it and always give the best that you can give,” she said, adding that seeing the results of her charitable work is what gives motivation.
“Just seeing the difference that it makes is what keeps me going. Knowing how people are truly being impacted by the work that I’ve done makes me want to continue making a difference in the world and knowing that no matter how small your group is, or where you start out from, you can always rally people together and find people with the same ideas in the initiatives as you and make a really big difference.”
Along with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Citizen Medal, Marin will be getting a cheque for $5,000 that she says will be going toward her college tuition. She plans on taking political science at MacEwan University and eventually hopes to work with public policy. Before heading off to the workforce however, she’d like to take a year off for some travel.
“I’m hoping after I graduate to be able to take a year and go to Spain. I have family that lives there so I’d like to work in Spain for a year, enjoy the culture and of course do some community work over there,” she said. “Just really enjoy myself for a little while before I get into the whole work force.”
As a message to her fellow youth Marin says to remain positive and never stop believing one can affect real change in the world.
“Any youth that feel they are insignificant or cannot make a difference - if they want to do something they absolutely can. Anyone can make a difference no matter how large or small the task is that they want to complete. You just need to surround yourself with positive people, push forward and climb over the obstacles that come toward you and you can do anything.”