BGC Canada Launches Inaugural Youth of the Year Leadership Program and Selects 2021 National Youth of the Year Recipient

Introducing BGC Canada's National Youth of the Year: Valentina Shamoun! (CNW Group/BGC Canada)

Youth of the Year initiative to award winners with leadership training, financial support for postsecondary education, and funding toward youth leadership programming

TORONTOApril 30, 2021 /CNW/ – At the virtual Youth of the Year Awards on April 29, hosted by Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka and YTV host & producer Duhin, BGC Canada unveiled our very first National Youth of the Year ambassador: Valentina Shamoun!

Representing BGC East Scarborough, Valentina has been a BGC member, volunteer, and now staff in the Club’s afterschool program. Her involvement with her local Club has led to many opportunities, and she has turned those experiences into a passion for giving back, from advocating for autism to peer tutoring to founding her own nonprofit project, The Butterfly Effect—and she plans to pursue a career in the medical field. Community is important to Valentina, and we know that she will proudly represent her Club and the entire BGC movement as our inaugural 2021 National Youth of the Year.

“We are incredibly proud of our six outstanding Regional Youth of the Year winners! As BGC ambassadors, they represent the leadership, drive, and compassion that defines the next generation and I know they will make a difference in their Club, their community, and beyond,” says Owen Charters, President & CEO, BGC Canada. “A special congratulations to Valentina on becoming our National Youth of the Year, and a big thank you to our local Clubs for supporting these incredible youth, as well as to our partners, Hyundai Canada and Mary Brown’s Chicken, for helping us bring this amazing initiative to life.”

A national initiative celebrating youth leadership and achievement at BGCs across Canada, and supported by leading title sponsor Hyundai Canada and platinum sponsor Mary Brown’s Chicken, BGC Canada’s Youth of the Year program will foster strong BGC ambassadors and build capacity for Clubs across the country to continue supporting youth leaders in their communities. The six Regional Youth of the Year will receive prize packs, laptops, and postsecondary scholarships, as well as media and leadership training to prepare them for the next two years as official BGC ambassadors.

“Learning about BGC Canada’s regional and national winners has been truly inspiring. These young leaders demonstrate strong leadership, clear vision, and an unbelievable work ethic. Hyundai Canada is proud to support Youth of the Year, helping the winners become emissaries of change in their communities,” says Kirk Merrett, Director of Human Resources & Administration, Hyundai Canada. “The work exhibited by the participants is a testament to the impact BGC Canada has in supporting youth for a brighter future. Congratulations to Valentina and thank you to BGC Canada for their unwavering resilience and dedication to our youth and their communities, despite the challenging circumstances imposed by the pandemic this past year.”

“Congratulations to Valentina! All of us at Mary Brown’s Chicken are extremely proud to support the amazing efforts of BGC Canada, and in particular, the Youth of the Year program,” says Hadi Chahin, President & COO, Mary Brown’s Chicken. “The remarkable achievements of all the entrants are a testament to the dedication of BGC Clubs and the life-changing support and skills they bring to children and youth in communities across Canada.”

The home Clubs of each Regional Youth of the Year winner will also receive a grant to further support their youth engagement and leadership work. Learn more about Youth of the Year at and stay tuned for next year’s Youth of the Year competition!

About BGC Canada (formerly Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada)
For 120+ years, BGC Canada has been creating opportunities for millions of Canadian kids and teens. As Canada’s largest child and youth serving charitable and community services organization, our Clubs open their doors to young people of all ages and their families at 775 locations nationwide. During out-of-school hours in small and large cities, and rural and Indigenous communities, our trained staff and volunteers provide programs and services that help young people realize positive outcomes in self-expression, academics, healthy living, physical activity, job readiness, mental health, social development, leadership, and more. Opportunity changes everything. Learn more at and follow us on social media @BGCCAN.

About Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.
Hyundai Auto Canada, established in 1983 and headquartered in Markham, Ontario, is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout Canada by Hyundai Auto Canada and are sold and serviced through more than 221 dealerships nationwide. Hyundai is also the first to offer a second-generation zero-emissions Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle to Canadian customers, called the NEXO. More information about Hyundai and its vehicles can be found at

For more information about Hyundai and its products, please visit

About Mary Brown’s Chicken
Mary Brown’s Chicken is the largest Canadian quick serve chicken restaurant. The brand was founded in Newfoundland & Labrador in 1969 and today has about 200 locations across Canada, having tripled its store count in the last decade. 100% Canadian, the brand’s key differentiator is crave-able taste. Mary Brown’s chicken and potatoes are locally sourced and delivered whole and fresh to each store, where they’re hand cut and hand breaded. Big Mary® has been named Canada’s Best Chicken Sandwich. A testament to the brand’s east coast heritage, genuine hospitality and community involvement are intrinsic to the brand. Mary Brown’s proudly supports hospitals, front line workers and numerous regional initiatives like kids’ lunch programs and many others. Learn more at and follow us on Instagram: @marybrownsofficial, Twitter: @marybrowns, and Facebook: @MaryBrowns.


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