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Salt of the Earth student Lions’ Junior Citizen of the year

By June 30, 2022No Comments
Olivia Brockhoff, a recent Holy Rosary High School grad, has been honoured with the Lions Club’s Junior Citizen of the Year award. Taylor Weaver Meridian Source

 

If there were more kindhearted and inspirational youth like Olivia Brockhoff in the world, it would probably be a much nicer place.

Born in Neilburg and raised in the Border City, the recent Holy Rosary High School (HRHS) graduate has been honoured for being a role model with  the local Lions Club’s Junior Citizen of the Year award.

The award was a complete surprise to Brockhoff, who thought she was attending a recent Lions’ event to talk about her “You Are Beautiful” project. Little did she know the night was all about recognizing the good she’s done in this community.

“When I received it I balled my eyes out because I had no idea I was even nominated,” she said.

“I was just speechless. I didn’t know what to say at the time, and I’m still pretty speechless about it now … my parents were there that night and they knew what was going on, but I sure didn’t”

Brockhoff’s “You Are Beautiful” video project went viral in 2019 when the student was 16 years old and proved the point that “praise can go a long way.”

But Brockhoff’s genuine love for people and helping those in need started way before 2019 with Project PJ by Olivia.

“At the ripe old age of 11 she says to her mom (Patricia), ‘I need to talk to you about something. I haven’t done enough to change the world.’ Mom says ‘you still have time. What do you have in mind?’ She had the idea to donate PJs to the sick kids at the Stollery. Her goal was 100 pairs of new PJs. She had recently had a friend’s sister go through cancer treatment and remembered her saying how awful the pyjamas were.  Well, seven years later she has collected and donated over 10,000 pairs of new PJs,” said Lion’s Club secretary and Citizens of the Year committee member Kathy Smithson.

“In conversation with a couple of staff from her school, the remarks were ‘it’s not unusual for a student to take on a project and run with it for a year or two, but seven years and counting is pretty amazing.”

With many more heartwarming stories centred around bettering the community, Brockhoff doesn’t do what she does for the recognition, in fact, far from it.

“I love it,” she said. “I know people don’t like doing things and not getting paid for it, but I love it. I love being around people; I am such a people-person and I get joy from being around people and seeing them smile, or even just hearing their stories and their struggles and being able to understand them.”

Not only was Brockhoff honoured with the Lion’s award, she also received the Servant Leadership Award at HRHS’s graduation ceremony.

“It’s called the Servant Leadership Award and it’s from being part of our Student Leadership Council, our Anti-bullying team, as well as doing things outside of the school for our community,” she said.

“I was surprised to win a leadership award, too, so it’s been a really, really good last few weeks.”

Again reiterating the fact she doesn’t better the community for the recognition, Brockhoff explained this award is very special to her.

“To me, it’s so insanely special to have that title because I never would have thought this award was a possibility for me, and now I feel like I’m in this special club with other people in the community who have done so much more than I have,” she said.

“I think it’s really special to be a part of that ‘club.’”

Through the years, Brockhoff has been involved with the Lloydminster Youth Council and was vice-chair one year, the student council at HRHS, she has volunteered at The Olive Tree, the local food bank and the Red Cross.

“She has spoken at elementary, middle and high schools, at women’s empowerment events,” said Smithson.

“She has been interviewed by newspapers and television and her message is always ‘you are never too old or too young to make a difference in the world.’

 “I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this young lady. No pressure. If you do nothing else, you have already touched the lives of more people than most of us could ever hope.”

With high school in the rear-view mirror, Brockhoff will be attending the U of S in the fall for a bachelor of science and plans to either take biology or biomedical foundations with the plan of either medicine or dentistry profession.

“I’ll also be continuing Project PJ in Lloyd next year and won’t be changing anything until my second year of university so I can settle in this year and not get burnt out before I get too far ahead of myself,” she said.

“I want to modify Project PJ to help vulnerable families going to the U of S, but I’m going to wait and expand on that in my second year.”