On May 5th, the 11th annual Service Above Self Surrey Youth (SASSY) Awards once again recognized six fantastic youth between the ages of 15 and 21 who live, work, and learn in Surrey and White Rock, BC. Hosted by the Semiahmoo Rotary Club, these awards celebrate local students for their contributions in Environmental Leadership, Arts & Culture Leadership, Community Service, International Service, Overcoming Adversity, and Sports & Recreation Leadership. A group of business and community leaders, the Semiahmoo Rotary Club is involved in hands-on service work and fundraising, with a focus on families and youth.
At McElhanney, we care about each other, our clients, and our communities. For the fifth year in a row, we are a proud sponsor of the Environmental Leadership category, which recognizes youth who have made outstanding contributions to the protection and / or sustainability of the environment.
Patty Burt, Branch Manager of our Langley, BC office, has been an active Rotarian for the last 10 years. She started with the Terrace-Skeena Valley Club and eventually transferred to the Semiahmoo Rotary Club in 2015 (she is currently the Club’s President). Today, we sat down with Patty to chat about what this sponsorship means to her.
Can you provide more detail about what McElhanney is doing to support the SASSY Awards? What does this sponsorship mean to you?
When McElhanney reached the milestone of 50 years of business in Surrey, we were looking for an extraordinary way to give back to the community to celebrate. We thought the SASSY Awards were a great fit, as they provide scholarships to local students and recognize youth leadership – a quality we also look for when recruiting co-op and summer students. We are deeply rooted in our communities and firmly believe in the importance of celebrating the hard work of our youth. 2017 was the first time our firm sponsored the Environmental Leadership category. It was such a success that the winner, Davansh Babla, joined McElhanney for a winter co-op term just after he started at the University of Waterloo.
McElhanney also provides volunteer hours on the planning committee. I have recruited some colleagues to sit in on adjuration panels – let me tell you, the submissions are top notch, which makes it very hard to determine a final winner! The event went virtual in 2020 and 2021, but attendance is steadily increasing each year. The caliber of kids in our community is inspiring.
These awards are related to our other community initiatives in the City of Surrey and for the Semiahmoo Rotary Club. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Recognizing and engaging exceptional youth in our community honours the core Rotarian values of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership – we are investing in our future leaders. Not only do award recipients get a $1,000 scholarship, but they also get to donate $500 to a registered Canadian charity of their choice. I am proud to say that the winners try to keep their donations local, so there is maximum impact felt across the Lower Mainland. REC for Kids is another charity that McElhanney has supported in the past through retired McElhanney employee Doug Roberts (member of the White Rock Rotary Club); it was honored recently by one of the SASSY award winners as their charity of choice!
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about community involvement? Any future plans on the horizon?
The SASSY committee was very concerned about what kind of applications they would get during a pandemic (if any!). However, the lockdown did not dampen the spirits and imaginations of our youth. They adapted and found ways to still make impacts at home and overseas, and we are proud to say that we’ve already started planning for next year’s SASSY event. I can’t wait to read the next set of applications to see what our students are doing to better the world we call home.
Congratulations to the 2021 nominees and winners! We would also like to issue a heartfelt thank you to the Semiahmoo Rotary Club and Sustaining Partner, City of Surrey, for making these awards a reality.
Learn more about the SASSY Awards
Watch this year’s virtual awards ceremony
Visit SASSY’s YouTube channel.