Rachel Malek: BC CHILD AND YOUTH IN CARE AWARDS

The BC Child and Youth in Care Awards recognize the amazing achievements of children and youth in and from care from across the province. During BC Child and Youth in Care Week (June 6 – 12), awards were given across three age groups and in 6 categories.

Meet Rachel

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To celebrate and honor her amazing achievements and commitment to her community, Rachel received one an awards. After she had some time to let it sink in, we asked her to reflect on how it feels to be recognized.

“I can't express how grateful I feel to be selected for this BC Child and Youth in Care Award. It's a marker as I transition toward a new place in my life,” said Rachel. “Receiving this award shows me I can enter adulthood knowing I have done well with my community and knowing this work is carried forward by so many amazing young leaders aging out of care.”

“When we recognize young people we take the first steps on an adventure with boundless possibility. By seeing and acknowledging their strengths we clear the way for new ways of engaging with the world. These young people have learned a lot, and will continue to learn as they navigate the often bumpy route to adulthood.”

It allows us to walk alongside each other

 “This award made me reflect on receiving a similar one at 19, the Representative for Children and Youth of B.C.'s Award of Excellence in Youth Leadership, which was a shift from self-advocacy to advocating for others,” notes Rachel. “Endless thanks to those who take the time to nominate young people. This is an act of confidence and support. Young people have much to offer, yet there is no diploma for the school of life, so these awards are an important way to acknowledge that value. It allows us to walk alongside each other, creating strong alliances for what comes next.”

Step lightly and take care of the basics

We asked Rachel if she had any words to share with young people in and from care. “Step lightly!” she advised. “There is no straight route forward and the twists and turns will certainly keep you guessing. Realise that we will survive as long as we take care of the basics. Eat, sleep, and get some fresh air. Remember that our minds, heart, and spirit are what carry us through anything. Nourish these parts of yourself at every opportunity. Most of all, celebrate life, love, and laughter every single day.”