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Winner of the 2017 Burke Mountain Community Leadership Award

Blog by Rebecca Permack | May 31st, 2017

Congratulations to Burke Mountain’s Caraline Cerqueira on being selected as the 2017 recipient of the Burke Mountain Homes® Community Leadership Award! Caraline’s outstanding examples of leadership, volunteerism and passion for the community, and her inspirational essay on shaping the future of Burke Mountain helped her application stand out amongst the crowd.

2017 Leadership Award - Caraline Cerqueira - Web-1.jpg 2017 Leadership Award - Caraline Cerqueira - Web-2.jpg

We are so impressed with this young woman and all she has accomplished in her first 16 years - we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Caraline! 

Here is her winning essay:

“Children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.” – Nelson Mandela

As a child, I have an opportunity to play a pivotal role in what my future will look like. I could either: sit back, and watch other people create a future for me - that I may or may not like, or I can take action and do it myself. That is why I am involved in numerous school programs and volunteer programs; I am creating my own future.

Burke Mountain is an emerging community. As young leaders we can influence other young people to get involved in the community as well. Young people are very influenced by their peers, so if they are surrounded by people who want to be involved in the community, and who want to see excellence, they may join in too. If we all come together to contribute to the community it can grow and flourish into a beautiful and welcoming place.

The best way to assist in the growth of this community is to get involved. Ultimately, you want to create and sustain an environment people will want to experience and share with others. Young people need to get out there and get involved, if there is an event coming up, volunteer for it, plant some vegetables in a community garden, ask questions about what is going on around us. If we have questions now, and they go unanswered, how are we supposed to lead in the future? The young leaders of today are the leaders of the future. We will be the ones with the major responsibilities, leading the next generation.

Burke Mountain has birthed a new generation of young people with fresh ideas and an excitement for seeing new things happen in our community. Building a strong community begins with small, easy things that can have a huge impact. When I moved here with my family, everyone on our block moved into their homes within weeks of each other. We were all new, didn’t know any of the neighbours, and were uncertain on what kind of emerging community we were about to grow up in. The very first day we arrived in our new home, our neighbours next to us were also moving in. Our neighbor barely spoke English, but somehow found a way to communicate with my parents to congratulate them on their new home and to express how happy they were to meet us. As those first months went on, I would watch as my father would water his garden and the neighbours garden as well, knowing they would be home late from work. In turn, we would come home sometimes to find our lawn had been mowed for us. Our neighbours on the other side would also bring baked goods from their homeland to us to try or offer us whatever he happened to be cooking on his BBQ in the summer. In all of this, I learned that building a strong community starts with a smile, a friendly gesture, kindness, going the extra mile to help each other. Young leaders who will thrive are the ones who will know to put down their electronics sometimes and look around. See what you can offer to your community to make that first small impact. It builds momentum and turns into a place where everyone takes care of each other. I feel like Burke Mountain already has that something special going on. The young leaders of tomorrow just need to keep it going so that our community becomes better and better. 

– Caraline Cerqueira