Courtney Durward (left) with cousin Julia, pictured with two girls at an orphanage in Mexico during a community work excursion. (Contributed)

Courtney Durward (left) with cousin Julia, pictured with two girls at an orphanage in Mexico during a community work excursion. (Contributed)

Vernon Secondary grad wins award for community work during pandemic

Chelsea Durward helped bring hampers to 55 families in Vernon, Armstrong, Lumby and Kelowna

A Vernon Secondary School grad has been recognized for exceptional community work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtney Durward has been named a Bank of Montreal (BMO) Community Spirit Award winner, which comes with a $1,000 Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

The award is part of a Vancouver Whitecaps FC program and is based on the recipients’ exceptional support for their communities during the pandemic. Durward was one of 10 recipients across B.C. and the only winner in the Okanagan.

“I was really excited about it … and I was appreciative that they took the time to read my entry,” Durward said. “Representing my school is an honour in itself.”

When the pandemic hit in March, Durward began working with her mom’s non-profit organization, Sweet Smiles Society. There, she helped raise funds for food hampers in the community, containing necessities such as meat, cheese, pasta, vegetables, fruits, eggs and milk.

She then helped with shopping, preparing and delivering the hampers to homes. In all, Durward helped support 55 families in Vernon, Armstrong, Lumby and Kelowna.

Sweet Smiles Society also supports people from far-reaching communities, and Durward has made trips to Mexico in the past, supporting children at various orphanages.

Durward plans to study criminology in post-secondary, and said she’s considering taking up her studies at the Okanagan College.

READ MORE: Lake Country UBCO grad wins top honours

READ MORE: Campfires pop up at North Okanagan alternative summer camp

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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