2018 Award recipients
Izabelle Gaskarth, age 7 – Spruce Grove
At only seven years old, Izabelle has already faced difficult life circumstances. She has supported numerous family members through personal hardships. Yet through it all, she has displayed maturity at a young age. She believes in doing the right thing and in equality for all. In addition to excelling in school and sports, Izabelle joined the Justice League in her school. This group of students gave up their lunch hour weekly to discuss, plan and participate in projects to give back to their community. When she was asked why she joined, she said she wanted to make the world a better place. Izabelle helps wherever there is an opportunity. Those who know her say she is a great kid deserving recognition.
Marigold Mioc, age 8 – Calgary
Marigold has been resilient through family challenges, including a serious injury her mother experienced that impacted her ability to work and support her family. Marigold also started a business three years ago called “Marigold’s Heart Garden,” selling flower headbands. She used the money she earned to sponsor a family from Syria in Calgary. She has donated to other causes, such as supporting refugees, and buying food and toys for people in need. During the holidays, Marigold also made gifts and created handmade cards for people facing homelessness in downtown Calgary. Marigold has strived to make everyone feel welcome and has contributed to her community to ensure everyone is treated equally. Even at her young age, Marigold is working hard to make this world a better place for all and that’s what makes her a great kid.
Bradyn Mishio, age 9 – Edmonton
Since being diagnosed with a rare gene mutation called “CHAMP 1”, Bradyn overcame numerous obstacles in his life through self-motivation and determination. Watching him repeatedly overcome these challenges and become a strong, independent individual has inspired others. However, Bradyn has recently faced his biggest challenge yet. In 2016, Bradyn was diagnosed with leukemia and often experiences painful symptoms and exhausting treatments. Despite this, he has focused on bringing joy to others. In May 2017, he had a bone marrow transplant. He is continuing to battle and is improving every day. He has always had a positive attitude, and has impacted many lives with simple but kind and meaningful words or actions. His strength and resilience in the face of life’s challenges capture the spirit of the Great Kids Award.
Olivia McAuley, age 11 – Red Deer County
Olivia is an excellent example of a great kid in Alberta. She has been driven to succeed in all areas of her life while managing her diabetes. Over time, she has become more independent at managing her illness and showed great concern for others and the world around her. For example, for several years, she has participated in fundraising activities for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, including participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes. Last year, she had her hair cut and donated to Wigs for Kids so that children who lost their hair because of cancer could have wigs. She is also part of 100 Kids Who Care, an initiative where children each donate $10 and select where to donate the money. Olivia’s dedication to her community while dealing with a life-changing diagnosis demonstrate why she deserves this award.
Jevon Putman, age 12 – Calgary
Jevon has faced many challenges due to epilepsy. Simply meeting each day with a positive attitude was difficult, but Jevon has moved through life with a smile on his face and joy in his heart. He has been a selfless young man who has always had the best interests of others in mind. He has volunteered for his community, school and neighbours to make his community a better place. He leaves every person he meets a little happier than he found them, making him a great candidate for this award.
Quinlan Bridge Grandbois, age 12 – Cold Lake
Quinlan is a very special young man who has learned to turn negative personal experiences into positives. He has had the inner strength to give back to those less fortunate. He has donated his time to various organizations and projects. These have included serving food and beverages to elders at a community centre, donating time to the Humane Society, and participating in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to raise funds for women fleeing domestic violence. He has also been an active Air Cadet who is mature, responsible and a great role model to other cadets. Moreover, Quinlan was responsible for saving his grandfather and two cousins’ lives during a boating mishap. His selflessness despite his own challenges make Quinlan a great kid.
Jadah Sparklingeyes, age 11 – Lac La Biche
Jadah has experienced many challenges in her short life, including struggles with her mental health. Even though she has a lot on her plate, she has always helped others wherever and whenever she could. Last fall, she collected over $700 in pledges and completed a six kilometre run to support the Road to Hope Foundation. She volunteered in her community with a group called Pathfinders. In addition to her amazing community volunteerism, Jadah has also exercised her love for sports and maintains her schoolwork. Instead of letting darkness into her life, Jadah has chosen to be a light for herself and others. This light is why she is being honoured as a great kid.
Blair Lobsinger, age 15 – Morinville
When Blair was 11, he lost his mother to suicide and used this difficult experience to address stigma surrounding mental health issues. For the past four years, he spoke of his experience at the Nelly’s Project Fundraiser, triggering an outpouring of emotional and financial support from the hundreds of guests in attendance. One year, the guests donated $57,000 in cash pledges as a response to his presentation. Throughout this his message was clear: suicide and mental health issues are not to be swept under a carpet of shame. Those who have known Blair appreciate his tireless efforts to create a meaningful legacy that honours his mother’s life. Blair has shown that he is a true youth leader who does valuable work to address mental health and suicide prevention. That’s why he is being recognized as a great kid.
Elizabeth Ossowska, age 15 – Edmonton
Elizabeth has had significant ups and downs in her fifteen years of life. But, her strong spirit and unwavering conviction to bring good into this world have never been shaken. Even before she was diagnosed with cancer at age nine, Elizabeth’s life was a whirlwind of medical appointments and tests. Through it all, she impressed others with her calm and strong attitude at such a young age. In her most difficult moments, she demonstrated care and compassion for others instead of worrying about herself. Today, Elizabeth continues to be a devoted big sister and extends her joy for life to her classmates and community. She deserves this award not only for what she does, but for who she is in the face of challenges.
Cerena Bond, age 14 – Calgary
Cerena has faced challenges every day with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. Although she was diagnosed with severe anxiety several years ago, Cerena has worked to address her fears and continues to be committed to moving forward. She has been an active volunteer who has won the Kid’s Hero Award for her fundraising efforts for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. She has been a member of Girl Guides of Canada and spent many hours volunteering for the organization and younger girls. She has also been a member of the Leadership and Student Council groups at her school, raising money for the global charity, Free the Children. Despite her challenges, Cerena is a shining example of kindness, caring and compassion – qualities that make her a great kid.
Noah Nicholls, age 15 – Calgary
Noah has set incredibly high goals for himself, including becoming Canada’s future Prime Minister. To prepare for such a responsibility, he has been engaged in many causes. They have included one close to his heart and identity: speaking in support of Bill 24 and Gay/Straight Alliances (GSAs). In this regard, he shared his story about coming out as an LGBTQ2S+ youth and how he found strength in GSAs during a hard time in his life. He has continued to hope that no other youth experiences what he did and that coming out and accepting themselves as gay is nothing to be feared or shamed. He has also recently begun a petition to build awareness around mental health for youth in Alberta. Noah’s maturity and passion are examples to us all and that’s why he’s a great kid.
Maddie Bosgra, age 16 – Calgary
While most toddlers were playing and discovering the world around them, Maddie was living a much more adult-like story. Not only did she have to have open heart surgery at age four, she suffered a stroke afterwards that affected multiple areas of her brain. Instead of playing in sandboxes, Maddie fiercely fought to teach her body to move and her mouth to speak. She pushed and fought through her battles with strength and perseverance and her spirit always won. Although her daily life still isn’t typical or ordinary, she has handled life with grace and humility. Her compassion has been her most striking quality. For example, this year, she decided to forgo her own birthday party and presents to support a sick friend undergoing heart surgery. Maddie’s heart truly works in wondrous ways, making her a great kid.
Kate Metcalfe, age 17 – Airdrie
Kate recently overcame severe anxiety and depression. She worked hard to regain her confidence and strength to make a difference for herself and those around her. As a result, she has become a mental health advocate. She has supported students from her high school and families in her community to seek mental health supports. She wanted to reduce the negative stigma attached to mental health and has worked on fundraising events to promote mental health awareness. Kate spearheaded a Movement for Mental Health fundraiser for her high school raising $30,000 for mental health supports in Airdrie. She has been an active, cooperative, self-motivated and a talented, effective leader. What makes Kate worthy of this award is her complete acceptance and encouragement of others and her endless enthusiasm for creating positive change.
Alera Blind Gaudet, age 17 – Edmonton
Alera is a one of a kind girl who stepped into adulthood when she took charge of the personal struggles in her life. She has began to build strong relationships and make lasting connections with supportive adults. This has renewed her sense of confidence and encouraged her to have an optimistic outlook on her life. She has also made an effort to maintain her physical health through proper diet and exercise. Currently, she is employed, set to graduate high school and plays on a rugby team. And she has continued to surround herself with other driven young women. A modest leader, Alera has shown what can be accomplished in the face of adversity. Her desire to build a better life shows us all why she is a great kid.
Karolina Agnieszka Bandowski, age 17 – Edmonton
Karolina’s challenging journey began at birth with a health issue that left her using a wheelchair. However, she has been determined to continue to work hard to become independent. She has never let herself become frustrated, angry or discouraged. She has never let her condition stop her from doing something. And has never sought sympathy or to be treated differently. Given the challenges she has fought, her positive attitude has been inspiring. Her smile is contagious, and passing by her without feeling uplifted is impossible. Those who know her say she leaves them with a feeling of warmth and better prepared to tackle any challenge, which is why she is a great kid.
Sunint Bindra, age 17 – Calgary
Sunint is a source of inspiration despite having faced a number of significant challenges. He grew up realizing that youth face a lack of inclusivity in their community and decided to take action to ensure individuals feel welcome. He believes we cannot solve the problems that divide us until we learn to accept our own neighbours. Driven by this belief, Sunint has delivered this message across the nation and in local news media. He has also received recognition from the Government of Canada for his efforts and has represented Canada as a United Nations Youth Delegate. Sunint has turned his challenges into his passion and he shows other children that being different isn’t something to hide, making him a great kid.
To connect with the Great Kids Award Team: