PHOTO: Mayor Dennis Brown presents the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to Marla Larson
On behalf of Governor General David Johnston, Mayor Dennis Brown presented Marla Larson with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers at Council’s May 23 meeting.
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. Atikokan High school nominated Larson for the award last spring.
Volunteering has been a central part of Larson’s life since she was a grade school student at St. Patrick’s. She has worked in support of programs and causes on a local, regional, national, and international level.
“Marla Larson gives back to the community by helping improve,” said Mayor brown. “She has volunteered at the local daycare, helped run fundraising events, coordinated donations and school, and was successful in filling shoeboxes with staple items for families in developing countries.”
During her four years of high school, she recorded 399 hours of volunteer service, ten times the amount required to graduate. She led bottle drives for leukemia research, volunteered with the Relay for Life, ran the Atikokan KidSport FaceBook page, served with the Mother Goose program at the Atikokan Public Library, helped with the Homeward Bound animal shelter, planted trees with the Boy Scouts, pitched in at church bazaars, and assisted with the children’s liturgy at St. Patrick’s Church.
In grade school, she got involved with the Me to We organization, which led to a trip to Ecuador in 2015, where a cadre of volunteers helped build a school in a small village. Now studying environmental science at the University of Guelph, she volunteered vacation time last year to do sea turtle research and conservation in Costa Rica.
That long list is far from comprehensive.
“We believe her generosity of spirit will continue to benefit the school and larger community where she attends university,” wrote principal Beth Fairfield in the school’s nomination. “Marla is an inspiration to her peers, and a well deserving recipient of the Sovereign’s Medal.”