“Youth are the foundation of tomorrow, the building blocks of society; in order to ensure success we must evoke the available talents to mould and create empowered, confident youth who maintain a voice to change the world for the better.”
These wise words come from an extraordinary student from Drumheller Valley Secondary School, Maria Patterson. Maria is a passionate defender of human rights in the battle to eradicate poverty, both internationally and within Drumheller. At only 17 years old she is devoted to making positive change and has dedicated herself to encourage other students to engage in community and international development at home.
This passion along with her inspiring leadership was recently recognized by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC) by naming her one of Alberta’s 2014 Top 30 Under 30. She is also featured in the their Top 30 Under 30 magazine which celebrates Alberta and global youth, and aims to raise the profile of extraordinary young Albertans from diverse backgrounds, working to advance recognition of basic rights and freedoms and improve lives in communities in Alberta and the Global South.
This year’s theme is “We are Making a Difference” and Maria certainly fits the bill. Beyond her community, she is interested in furthering the protection of human rights and recently participated in a month-long volunteer trip to Nyameyekram, Ghana where she helped to build a school through Me to We, a Toronto-based social enterprise. This project successfully produced a school capable of housing over 150 children.
Back home she created and presides over a Youth Rotary Interact Club with the intent of facilitating volunteer and fundraising campaigns at a community level. She is also the Co-Chair of the 2014 Alberta Student Leadership Conference in Drumheller, which provides extensive leadership training to over 600 high school students from around Alberta.
Outstanding job Maria! Congratulations on being named one of the prestigious Top 30 Under 30 of 2014.