Queen's University student to receive Young Humanitarian award

Topics: New Brunswick, Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention
July 05, 2013

Queen's University student to receive Young Humanitarian award

Violence, abuse and harassment can have a harmful impact on the outcome of a young person's life and could create lasting emotional damage they carry for the rest of their days.

Mean, hurtful behavior on the part of people who bully can negatively affect youth and make people feel threatened, concerned for their personal safety, embarrassed and even intimidated. Bullying can also occur online in the form of cyber-bullying, which is the use of electronic devices to engage in cruel or mocking activities toward another person.

The Canadian Red Cross, which is a charity organization in Canada, strives to put an end to bullying in all of its forms and improve the lives of young people. Through the dedication and passion of volunteers, the Canadian Red Cross is better able to reach more individuals in need.

The effect that one volunteer can have on the ground can often be immense. Alisha Virmani, a full-time student at Queen's University, was recently awarded the Canadian Red Cross' Young Humanitarian Award for New Brunswick for her work in helping to reduce bullying in Canada. Her story serves as an inspiration to youth who have been the targets of those who bully in the past and are eager to give back to their communities.

Alisha's story
Although Alisha is attending Queen's University, she became involved with the Canadian Red Cross several years ago while she was still in high school. As a student at Fredericton High School, Alisha became a youth facilitator in the Canadian Red Cross' bullying prevention program.

Alisha was sexually exploited, verbally abused and derided for her cultural background as a youth both online and in person, but her work with the Canadian Red Cross helped her to make a difference for others who were impacted by bullying.

The choice to stand up for herself was not easy, and took plenty of courage, she admits. Learning to overcome abuse from those who bully and adults who would protect them was a difficult obstacle, but one that Alisha was ultimately able to do.

Recently, it was announced that Alisha will be awarded with the Canadian Red Cross' Young Humanitarian Award for New Brunswick during a dinner in November 2013 in Saint John. In May, she spoke at the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies, an annual conference that was held in Halifax

To Alisha, bullying can have a significant impact on mental health, which highlights how important it is to address these issues with the same attention typically given to physical health. In addition, she believes compassion is important for teaching bullying, violence and abuse prevention.

Take action
Youth can make an impact on the ground in a variety of ways that help to change the lives of people in need. From working to overcome the effects of cyber-bullying to getting involved in local communities, the work of youth with the Canadian Red Cross can help drive real change. 

As one of the most active non-profit organizations in the country, the Canadian Red Cross is committed to giving people impacted by emergencies and disasters the help that they need to overcome potential problems and challenges.

The humanitarian spirit that carries through the work of the Canadian Red Cross extends across the country and around the world.

To show your support for the Canadian Red Cross, please donate online or at your local Red Cross office today, Each contribution benefits people struggling with adversity and can help you make a difference today.