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Youth of the Year looks to conquer cancer

Relay for Life's children's activities student coordinator was recently named City of Prince George's Youth of the Year. Lila Mansour has volunteered with the B.C.
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Lila Mansour, College Heights Secondary school Grade 12 student, is the City of Prince George Youth of the Year for her extraordinary volunteer efforts including those towards cancer education and prevention geared for youth. Citizen photo by Brent Braaten June 13 2017

Relay for Life's children's activities student coordinator was recently named City of Prince George's Youth of the Year.

Lila Mansour has volunteered with the B.C. Cancer Society as student coordinator since 2015, and is proud of the work she's done for the non-profit.

"That's always exciting for me," Mansour said. "I've done a lot of work for the cancer society and as a result in September I formed SWACC, which is Students Working at Conquering Cancer."

Mansour's goal was to have youth from across Prince George high schools meet at a camp in December where youth was educated about the Canadian Cancer Society and what they do, about cancer and cancer prevention. The hope was that the high school students would go into elementary schools to educate students and they did manage to go into a couple of schools.

"It was exciting to see the high school students getting engaged and being educated about this, so part of the goal was reached," Mansour said. "We wished we could reach out to more students but we did create a brochure that was really helpful that we were able to give out to a lot of teachers throughout the district and we were also able to hand it out to the students we did see when we visited the schools."

Currently cancer is the number one killer in Canada and Mansour said that's motivated her.

"Two out of five Canadians will have cancer in their lifetime and so that's definitely something that touches us all," she added.

Prevention is key right now.

"The younger you are and the better you try to prevent it now, the better it is later," Mansour said. "I definitely want to do a lot of fundraising for research because it's great to be part of the cure."

Mansour has spent the last two years as a Big Brothers Big Sisters teen mentor where she'd go to an elementary school once a week to meet with a student who needed a positive influence. Her match concluded recently as she will soon graduate from high school.

Mansour, who has always maintained the highest marks during her College Heights secondary school career, is an academic mentor and also teaches Sunday school for Arabic religious studies at her local place of worship.

"I really love giving back and working with people," Mansour said, who plans to attend UNBC and focus on mathematics and economics. "What I do from there I think is a big question."

Right now it's a toss up between mathematics or law.

To be Youth of the Year, selected from those from 13 to 18 years old who are attending school and who have made significant contributions in the community, is especially important to Mansour because she knows others who have been given the honour and she really looks up to those people, she said.

"To be up there with them makes me really proud," Mansour said. "And I'm really excited for the next recipients who will come because it's good to know that there are always youth who are inspired to support others in their community."

Mansour submitted a project to Canada 150 & Me Youth Forum, in answer to the question "what is the greatest opportunity or challenge facing Canada for your generation?"

Mansour created a powerful painting with a strong message about the fate of Canada's environment.

Mansour was chosen to be one of 150 students from throughout Canada who will travel to Ottawa from June 27 to July 3 to present their projects to government, business, and community leaders and to participate as volunteers throughout the week in Canada's 150 celebrations.

Check out Mansour's project at http://experiencescanada.ca/150/project/what-will-happen-to-canadas-environment-eh/.

Flip through The Citizen's Volunteer City series, featuring stand-out volunteers in Prince George: