A Turner Valley teen’s determination to make change in her school and community has not stopped there.
Queen’s Golden Jubilee Citizenship Award recipient Hope Roberts, 19, is expanding her reach as she strives to become a better global citizen and improve her worldview.
The first year civil engineering student at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering spent a week in Tijuana in February building homes for families. This month, she will connect with children in Guatemala to better their schools with new playground equipment and sports facilities like basketball courts.
“The whole idea of being able to touch other people’s lives, that really interests me, especially the connection aspect of working in a community and building relationships with others,” said Roberts. “It’s important to me because that’s how I can become the best version of myself and learn new skills and apply myself further and push myself.”
Roberts’ impact on others hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Alberta High School of Fine Arts staff in Okotoks nominated the teen for the Premier Citizenship Award, which she received last fall, making her eligible for the Queen Jubilee Award. Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell presented Roberts with the latter award at Government House in Edmonton on July 23.
Roberts was among eight students awarded for their contributions to community through outstanding citizenship, leadership, public service and voluntary endeavours.
“It definitely means a lot to me,” Roberts said of receiving the award. “It’s nice knowing that I have had a positive impact on those around me and that has shone through. I feel very proud.”
Roberts’ desire to help others was instilled by her parents, who are big supporters of giving back to the community, she said.
The list of Roberts’ accomplishments is lengthy during her high school years at the Alberta High School of Fine Arts at Foothills Composite High School.
She spent hours making school life better through helping to organize Terry Fox runs, We Scare Hunger Halloween food drives, school Pride Days and numerous fundraisers for such causes as the Humboldt Broncos and the 2016 Fort McMurray fire.
A key member of the Sheldon Kennedy Youth Advocacy Committee at the school, Roberts advocated for mental wellness and was instrumental in organizing Mental Health Week and the Mental Health Awareness Fair.
Roberts said she and her fellow students helped break down the stigma around mental health within the school community.
“Being a student you’re definitely exposed to mental health and it can be something that a lot people don’t want to talk about,” she said. “It was something that was being addressed and talked about within the school. It was really important to me to help my fellow students who were struggling who needed a friend or resource.
“It felt really good to be a part of that. It was a very enlightening experience.”
Roberts also played a role in the school’s student union during her three years of high school. She served as vice-president and treasurer in Grade 12.
“It was an amazing opportunity to work within the school and just getting to know the school and working with different kids,” she said.
Outside of the school walls in Okotoks, the public saw Roberts contributing to the community in another way. She played the bagpipes at Remembrance Day and Birth of a Nation ceremonies.
The bagpiper of 10 years, who followed a family trend in music, said she enjoyed the opportunity to give back to veterans.
“Everything they have done has allowed me to do everything I’ve been able to do,” she said. “It’s great to give back to the people who did so much for me and for Canada.”
In university, Roberts continues to keep her finger on the pulse of the needs in her new community.
An advocate for Women in Science and Engineering through the university, Roberts joined her peers in introducing school groups and Girl Guides in Calgary and the surrounding area to various aspects of science and engineering.
“It’s an opportunity to work with other young girls through interactive hands-on demonstrations by incorporating the skills I’m using every day with fun activities that they can be a part of and can see what they’re able to do,” she said, adding the university hosts several events throughout the year.
Getting involved in her community through volunteerism, while helping others, has shaped Roberts into the woman she is today.
“I definitely learned a lot through these different experiences,” she said. “I find I’m more open minded.”
Other recipients of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Citizenship Award were Tim Zekai Wu, of Calgary; Kassidy Gerhardi, of Cochrane; Andrew Li, of Edmonton; Fajar Khan, of Fort McMurray; Arzina Jaffer, of Okotoks; Garrett Gerrard, of Parkland County; and Sydney Hucal, of Red Deer County.