I am very pleased to present the final award of the evening … the 2018 Citizen of the Year Award.

This individual is selected by the Office of the Mayor, in consultation with community volunteers. The award-winning citizen is selected based on their commitment to the community and overall impact on the Town of Aurora.

This year’s recipient is someone truly special. She is not only a community leader, she is someone who is redefining her generation.

I am so fortunate that, in the course of my duties as Mayor, I get to meet many young people in our community. I continue to be in awe of the passion, drive and the genuine concern they have for the world around them.

They are growing up in a different time than many of us. A time when they are more connected than ever to each other and to technology. They often get a bad rap. But, let me tell you, the access to knowledge and information that these young people have has, in many cases, fostered a wonderful sense of community and compassion for others.

That is certainly the case for this year’s award-winner who is recognized as an individual who leads with her heart and sets a positive example for her young peers and others in her community.

For someone so young, her list of accomplishments is truly inspiring.

This year’s recipient is recognized in her school community and beyond for her kindness, positive spirit and commitment to making a difference.

At Christmas, she makes it her mission to ensure that children who are less fortunate than her are able to experience the magic of the holiday season.

As a mentor to peers in her school, she helps ensure Grade 9 students successfully transition to high school. She also encourages fellow members of her Peer Mentor Group to think carefully about the impact they have locally and globally.

She consistently goes above and beyond in everything she does. This year, she hosted a holiday social at her house for members of her Peer Mentor Group and encouraged everyone to bring a donation to a local family in need. As a result of her thoughtfulness, she was able to purchase much-needed grocery gift cards for the family.

She has been a key member of the Terry Fox Run committee at her school. She goes out and speaks to local businesses in Aurora to ask for their support and promotes the event amongst the school population, getting them excited about the run. As a result, her school has been able to donate almost $6,000 to the Terry Fox Foundation.

She is also a leader for her school’s “swabbing events”. These annual events collect bone marrow samples from students and teachers over the age of 17. As a result of her efforts, more than 200 names have been added to the Bone Marrow Registry, each one hopeful that they may be able to save a life one day.

She has also been a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, helping to educate her school community about the cause.

In addition to all these accomplishments, she is a member of her school’s Athletic and Music Councils and is a member of multiple athletic teams.

For someone so young, this year’s recipient has made a tremendous impact on the world around her and no one who knows her has any doubt that an incredible future lies ahead of her. We are proud to say that her future as someone who changed the world began right here in Aurora.

Tonight, we are here to give thanks for her tremendous contributions to the Town of Aurora.

If the 2018 Citizen of the Year sounds a lot like Youth Award Winner, Josie Kearney, that’s no coincidence! We were so impressed with Josie’s compassion and commitment to serving others, we couldn’t think of a more deserving community member.

Ladies and gentlemen please help me give a big round of applause, once again, for Josie Kearney, our 2018 Citizen of the Year.