Young Female Volunteer of the Year Award

Award Criteria

  • Nominees must be between the ages of 13 and 19 as of December 31, 2018.
  • Awarded to a young female in recognition of her outstanding voluntary contributions to the city of Kelowna. Contributions may be related to recreation, the arts, education, humanities, community service, and/or medical/business/commerce fields.
  • Selections are based on the nominees achievements/contributions for the year 2018.
  • Past information may be included, but should primarily be regarding the current award year.
  • Finalist selections are based solely on the information in the completed nomination package.

As of 2014, the three successful finalists will receive funding towards their post secondary goals from the Dillon Thomas Budd Youth Scholarship - $1,000 for the award recipient and $500 for each of the two finalists. 
Sponsored by the Thomas Alan Budd Foundation. 

2018 Young Female of the Year Award Recipient

Keneisha Charles

Keneisha is co-president of the District Student Council and president of both the RSS Interact Club and Diversity Club. She is a volunteer facilitator for Beyond the Hurt and member of both the Lifesavers Mental Health Awareness team and the Foundry Youth Action and Advisory Council. In 2018 alone, she dedicated over 500 hours to volunteer initiatives, school projects and groups and public engagements.

Keneisha applied for youth grant funding then helped create garden boxes at Fernbrae Manor Seniors facility where she also volunteers washing walkers and gardening. She has been an iGen Entrepreneurship Challenge finalist, helped coordinate a winter necessities drive for at-risk youth, and been a key organizer and emcee for the Mental Health Assembly. At Christmas she stuffed shoeboxes and manned the Salvation Army kettle and also volunteers with Interior Health where she received her 100 hours of volunteer service award.

As a sought after public speaker, she presented at TEDxYouth and made such an impression she was invited to be the keynote speaker and master of ceremonies of the Innovate ED Conference, attended by over 600 educators, most of whom were moved to tears by her speech. Her talk was passionate and elevated the entire event, where she emerged as a fierce advocate for diversity and the representation of diversity across all forms of media.

She is a top academic student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, who exemplifies service leadership and is motivated by an unwavering commitment to making the world more inclusive, humane and sustainable. She is currently developing a system to reduce plastics in her school with the prize money won in the UN’s Sustainable Development Challenge. She will continue to learn, volunteer, lead and drive positive change in our world, wherever she goes!

School District 23 educators will tell you that Keneisha has bettered the lives of the people around her – she has enriched the lives of countless students, teachers and administrators and they consider themselves lucky to have had a student like Keneisha in their lifetime. 

Award Sponsored by:


Past Recipients of the Award
  • 2017 - Ashley Robinson
  • 2016 - Gabriela Rubio
  • 2015 - Maya Gay
  • 2014 - Thish Rajapakshe
  • 2013 - Pauline Schrott
  • 2012 - Kelsi Taron
  • 2011 - Tanveer Gill
  • 2010 - Danielle Heinzlemann
  • 2009 - Jessica LeNoble
  • 2008 - Sasha Gronsdahl
  • 2007 - Brianna Beaudry
  • 2006 - Caitlyn Slavik
  • 2005 - Christa Hoy
  • 2004 - Kelly O'Connor
  • 2003 - Rachel Leier
  • 2002 - Teryn Buna
  • 2001 - Brenna Black
  • 2000 - Jacqueline Collins
  • 1999 - Sarah Carson