Eveyen Sobremisana: Fresh Voices Award Recipient 2017

Community News & Features Jul 14, 2017 at 2:59 pm
Eveyen Sobremisana with her plaque (centre) flanked by Fresh Voices Team Members  (Photo credit: Fresh Voices)

Eveyen Sobremisana with her plaque (centre) flanked by Fresh Voices Team Members
(Photo credit: Fresh Voices)

By Erie Maestro

VANCOUVER–High-spirited energy from a wonderful and diverse group of over 200  young people filled the Theatre at the Vancouver Science World last June 19. The youth, joined by their families, friends and adult allies from the community, gathered for the 2017 Fresh Voices Awards Ceremony.

The Fresh Voices Awards recognize and celebrate the inspiration and leadership of immigrant and refugee youth and their adult allies in British Columbia and across Canada in working for social change. Fresh Voices is an initiative in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation, Michaëlle Jean Foundation, and Vancity Credit Union. It is a group of young immigrants and refugees who work in their communities to ensure that their voices are heard on the issues that affect them.

Eveyen Sobremisana, a Filipino Grade 12 student at Killarney Secondary School in east Vancouver, received the 2017 Fresh Voices Award and a $1000 cash award in the category of “Maintaining Cultural Roots”. The award recognized the young Sobremisana’s leadership in working “to maintain a connection to one’s cultural roots and homeland region while raising awareness through campaigns, fundraising and organizing in Canada.”

Sobremisana’s nomination description detailed this further: Eveyen believes that everybody’s story is worth sharing. Soon after arriving in Canada, she became involved in the Engaged Immigrant Youth Program, where she got connected to other young Filipino newcomers. As part of the program, she helped create “Fresh Start” magazine, which provides a space for Filipino newcomer youth to tell their stories. She is now a youth Ambassador for the Newcomer Orientation Welcome to BC.”

Bert Monterona, Nominee for Adult Ally Fresh Voices Award

Bert Monterona, Nominee for Adult Ally Fresh Voices Award

Other awards were given to six other newcomer youth, in British Columbia and across Canada, for their inspiration and leadership in several categories like Family and Intergenerational Relationships, Relationship with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, Leadership in Cross-Cultural Dialogue, Building Bridges and Solidarity and the Use of Arts to address issues of newcomer communities in Canada..

Fresh Voices Youth Advisory Team member Yansie Ardon told the audience, “We had a lot of amazing nominations this year, and we wish we could pick them all!” The panels outside of the Theatre that displayed the photos and descriptions of the nominees and their work told the amazing work that all the nominees were doing.

Noteworthy were two nominees that night who belonged to Migrante BC: Visual artist Bert Monterona who was nominated for the Adult-Ally Award and youth leader Mae Lovely Ranges who was nominated for the National Artivism Award.

Monterona is the founding member of Migrante’s PANCIT art collective (Philippine Artists Network for Community Integrative Transformation) who organizes and teaches in the art workshops, particularly in his work of reaching out to the young Filipino newcomers so they can discover their gifts for painting and drawing, and be able to place their experiences within the context of the Filipino diaspora. Ranges is a high school student at Moscrop Secondary School and a member of the newly-formed Migrante BC Youth group. She is a poet, filmmaker and facilitator and at 16 years old, was the youngest person to complete Check Your Head’s Inclusion and Anti-Racism program.

Monterona was happy to be nominated for his work with the youth and declared, “It is an honor to be nominated in this event and I am amazed with the concern and efforts of the working committees particularly to the Fresh Voices Initiative, in recognizing our community works and also igniting more interest and love to serve the people.”

It was a truly inspiring night!

Front row, third from R-L:  Lovely Ranges, Eveyen Sobremisana and Bert Monterona with other winners and nominees ( Photo credit: Fresh Voices)

Front row, third from righ: Lovely Ranges, Eveyen Sobremisana and Bert Monterona with other winners and nominees (Photo credit: Fresh Voices)