The appearance of Education Minister Laurel Broten at LAMP Community Health Centre’s annual general meeting was a surprise to many in attendance – but it quickly became clear that she was there for a very, very good reason.
Broten was at LAMP to present Amber Morley, a third-year Humber PR Diploma student, with the Queens’ Diamond Jubilee Medal. Developed by the Governor General’s office in celebration of the Queen’s sixtieth year on the throne, the award has honoured the contributions and achievements of 60,000 Canadians across the country and internationally.
Broten, who is also the MPP for Etobicoke Lakeshore, nominated Amber for the award because of her work with the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly (SEYA). “It was my pleasure to nominate an individual who has been an advocate for youth,” says Minister Broten. “Amber has helped spearhead the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly, which steers youth away from bad decisions and makes a positive difference in the Lakeshore community by encouraging active participation and by organizing events and programs.”
“SEYA was the heart and soul of my community work,” says Amber, who began working with the organization when she was 12. “During my time with SEYA I learned more than I ever could have hoped, and took advantage of every opportunity to learn and lead.”
And lead she did. As a result of her 11 years of advocacy work with SEYA, Amber has been co-chair of the City of Toronto Youth Strategy Panel and was part of the Lakeshore Community Centre Working Group. She now serves on the board of directors of The Remix Project, an urban arts program for marginalized young people, and is on the advisory committee for the Laidlaw Foundation, which provides funding for youth programs across Southern Ontario.
Although she’s always been an active and engaged member of her community, Amber says that school was not always quite as compelling – until she got to Humber.
“In high school, I put most of my energy into my community work,” she says. “My program now is both engaging and practical. I sit in the front row of every class now – and learning something useful every day gives me the motivation and the tools to be successful in the future.”