Right To Play is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 Youth Hero Awards, who will be receiving their awards this evening at The Heroes Gala. These awards celebrate young people who have risen above adversity to inspire others with their passion, courage and dedication. Today, on the International Day of the Girl Child, we are proud to announce that both recipients are young women who demonstrate the power and potential of young people.

This year, the international recipient is Solange Disi (a pseudonym to protect her privacy), a 15-year-old girl from Rwanda who rose above a sexual assault by a neighbour and the resulting unexpected pregnancy to become an inspiration for her community. She now teaches her fellow students about how to protect themselves and stand up for their rights, while working to change social norms in her village. She aspires to one day become a doctor, where she wants to help young girls like herself, while raising her son to become an advocate for the rights of women.

The domestic recipient is Crystal Clark-McGregor from Whitefish River First Nation in Ontario. Crystal, a former graduate of Right To Play’s Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program herself, has spent the past two years working as a Community Mentor in Whitefish River. In that role, she is building the strength of children in the program that she was once a participant in. A fierce and passionate advocate for youth, she is teaching the children in her community about their heritage and power using land-based programming.

Right To Play is proud to celebrate these two young women as inspiring forces for change and heroes in their community. Congratulations Solange and Crystal! You truly are inspirations to us all!