South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts

South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts

Public speaking awards give voice to youth

Chinese Village Club's multicultural contest presents its first gala event Friday

It’s a step forward for providing a voice for Canadian youth of all cultures.

The Alpha Power Speaking Youth Awards gala – taking place tonight (Friday), 6-8 p.m. at the Bell Centre for the Performing Arts – is the first in what will be a series of annual events, organizers from the non-profit Chinese Village Club say.

Some 19 finalists – in age categories six to 10, 11 to 14 and 15 to 18 – will share their perspectives on family, multiculturalism and cross-culture communication, vying for prizes and awards in a show which will also include a variety of multicultural entertainment.

And while event director Erica Gong and CVC director Adele Yu acknowledge that the first edition of the event, sponsored by Alpha Financial Services, has drawn youth primarily from the Chinese-Canadian and Korean-Canadian communities – largely because of the short timeline since it was announced in October – the aim for the future is to emphasize participation from children and teenagers of all cultural backgrounds.

Finalists in the English-language contest were narrowed down at the end of December from close to 100 two-minute online submissions, Yu said, adding that there has been a lot of interest from immigrant parents in White Rock and Surrey who want their children to overcome language barriers.

At a press conference for the event, held Jan. 16 at Ocean Promenade Hotel, South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Moti Bali, president of the International Community Celebrations Society, were on hand to congratulate organizers, including CVC president Ying Liu , directors Yu and Karen Huang and Alpha Financial representative Ruby Gao.

“Multicultural outreach and bonding is what makes Canada special,” Baldwin said. Adding that “one of the hardest things to do is public speaking” Baldwin extended an invitation to winners of the contest to attend White Rock council meeting.

“Effective communication is a key to success,” Watts said, noting that encouraging the development of public speaking skills among young people is a valuable contribution of the event.

“It doesn’t matter where you go in life, it will always be an asset,” she said.

Bali – whose organization created White Rock’s annual Festival of Lights Diwali Integration celebration – said he had “joined hands with the CVC to help them create an atmosphere that is truly inter-cultural.”

Gao said Alpha Financial feels a “responsibility to support and promote new and important events in the community.”

The Bell Centre for the Performing Arts is located at 6250 144 St.

For more information on the Alpha Power Speaking Youth Awards, visit www.powerspeechca.com