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2 sets of sisters awarded for making a difference in Newmarket

Manha and Laiba Yusuf and Stella, Portia and Violet Gorgoni of Lil' Big Kid Squad are recipients of the Ontario Junior Citizen Award

Local young leaders are being celebrated for their contributions to the community through the Ontario Junior Citizen Award. 

Sisters Manha and Laiba Yusuf, 10 and 9, are among this year's recipients. The philanthropic pair is known in Newmarket for their community fundraisers supporting Inn From The Cold, Rose of Sharon and more. 

The girls have also started two big campaigns. The first is Stamp Out Stigma for Mental Health, which aims to raise awareness and offer support to residents experiencing mental health issues and hardships. 

Their second campaign is Kindness for Buddies, which encourages others to do good deed while also offering free tutoring, educational resources, and even food delivery for those in need. 

They are one of 12 recipients of the award presented by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA). The awards recognize youth aged six to 17 who are making a difference in their communities. 

Sisters Stella, Portia and Violet Gorgoni, 12, 10, and 8, are being recognized for founding Lil Big Kid Squad. Through this organization the girls, along with other youth, have raised funds for Inn From The Cold, collected food and cash donations for the Newmarket Food Pantry, and given Christmas cards to seniors in long-term care homes. 

Jin Schofield, 17, of Richmond Hill is also receiving an award this year. She is an aspiring neuroscientist and the co-founder of ConchShell. The start-up aims to create a wearable technolgoy to converts American Sign Language to spoken word. 

This is just one of Schofield's many accomplishments. The teen also co-leads a youth non-profit, Operation Med School Toronto, co-leads STREAM Syndicate, is the CEO of MarketAngelo, is the president of her student council, as well as other clubs at her school, and is an avid volunteer. 

The Ontario Junior Citizen Awards will be presented in a virtual ceremony on May 11. 


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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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