Morning Star Staff
Hannah Vaz is taking an exciting step as a candidate in the BC Ambassador Program.
The program encourages young women and men ages 17 to 24 who have previously held an ambassador or royalty title in their communities to be recognized for their community service, knowledge of the province and excellence in their studies. They travel to events around the province and are eligible for scholarships.
“I love this program. I like talking to people and getting to know them and letting them know about Vernon as I did when I was Princess Silver Star,” said Vaz, 19, Princess Silver Star in 2015. The Vernon secondary school grad has just finished her first year in sciences at UBCO and plans to become a doctor.
“This program focuses on the candidates’ improvement and knowledge and how they are involved in their communities. There are eight candidates and we are each working on a community project to raise money for the scholarships that will be awarded to help us continue our studies.”
Vaz is selling tickets for a raffle with a prize of a trip to Mexico, with the draw to take place in July.
Although the candidates are from around the province and will not meet in person until the event where the three ambassadors are announced, they have met and keep in touch with each other through social media. They also have regular meetings with program advisors.
The candidates will be at the event in Merritt July 21 and 22 where they will present their speeches and have interviews.
Vaz is keeping busy working at Cotton’s Chocolates and going to local events. Her community work includes volunteering at Kindale and she has been on a trip to Mexico with Cotton’s owner Barrita Durward, who established an orphanage there. Vaz also volunteers on the board of directors of Durward’s Sweet Smiles Society as director of international youth bursaries.
“That was an incredible trip and I find the work at Kindale really interesting,” Vaz said.
“I really want to thank my parents, Christine Hatfield and Glenn Vaz, and my sisters, Erica and Rachel, who are 17, for supporting and encouraging me. My best friends are there for me and help me with my speeches and I learned a lot from Miranda Stenkiewicz, who was Queen Silver Star XLVII and then a BC Ambassador. I also had help from Sandra Simao and Coleen Noel.”
Vaz said taking part in the program is helping her to grow as a person.
“I am learning how to take the initiative and connect with people and have more confidence. I know now that I will always want to be involved with my community wherever that might be in the future. It is an honour to take part in the BC Ambassador Program,” she said.
When she is not working, volunteering or taking part in dance competitions — her favourite is tap — Vaz likes to paddle board, ski and travel.
To buy tickets for Vaz’s scholarship raffle, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or get them at Cotton’s Chocolates. She will also host a dessert auction fundraiser June 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Schubert Centre; tickets are $10 and available through Vaz at Cotton’s Chocolates on 30th Avenue in downtown Vernon.
One of the scholarships awarded in the program is called the People’s Choice Award. This requires people to go online to the BC Ambassador Program website and vote for the candidate of their choice. The candidate who receives the most votes by the date of the pageant in July will win this scholarship. If people in Vernon and area want to vote for Vaz, go to www.bcambassador.com/peoples-choice-ambassador. Each person can vote once every day on every device.