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HRH The Prince Edward presents Gold Awards to high school students VANCOUVER, June 5 /CNW/ - At an award ceremony at Vancouver Technical Secondary School (VTSS), 36 students were presented with Gold Awards from His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. The award ceremony recognized the students for their achievements pursuing the Duke of Edinburgh's Award programme. All of the participants who received an award are part of the TD Waterhouse Investing in Youth Initiative that helps ensure youth at risk and youth with disabilities from across Canada have access to the programme. "It's a tremendous accomplishment to receive a gold award and quite phenomenal that 36 participants from our school have achieved it," says Shirley Rochelle Turner, teacher at VTSS and volunteer with The Award. "These students have overcome a lot of obstacles in order to participate in the programme, and their involvement has had an overwhelmingly positive influence on the VTSS community." TD Waterhouse has pledged $700,000 over the past five years through its Investing in Youth Initiative to raise awareness and improve accessibility of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a programme that encourages young Canadians to reach a series of personally-established goals. In pursuing the various levels of the award, participants gain confidence, leadership skills and a sense of responsibility for their community. "It was after meeting with leaders in a few inner city schools in Vancouver that I realized what an enormous opportunity there is to make a difference in the lives of these kids," says Jim Kershaw, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager, TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice, Western Canada and Vice President of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award British Columbia & Yukon Division. "The Investing in Youth Initiative helps young people realize their potential and step up to new challenges. They learn how important it is to see something through from start to finish and it's this dedication that sets them head and shoulders above the crowd and gives them the solid footing to be leaders in their own right." "The Award gives students the flexibility to set goals that are challenging and interesting to them," adds Mark Crofton, Vancouver Executive Director of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. "Since it's a self-directed programme, the goals that students define for themselves become their personal road map for success. This is often just the first step as many participants gain the confidence to go on to be leaders in their own communities." Some of the students who received Gold awards for their achievements yesterday include: Lauren Law, a student whose interest in environmental issues not only prompted her to start an environment club within the school but to act as a youth ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund and act as a youth climate change representative at the 2007 Greening Cities Summit and the 2008 Road to Davos Forum. She has also travelled to the Arctic as part of a student expedition. Garman Lo, acts as a youth representative for the Building a Safe Environment anti-bullying initiative. He also coordinates volunteers at his local community centre and mentors the saxophone section of the VTSS concert band. Jennifer Wong, graduated from VTSS two years ago but continues to inspire younger students as a youth leader on Gold and Silver expeditions. She continues to volunteer her time during her studies at Simon Fraser University. As a result of pursuing the physical recreation requirement of the programme, she is also about to gain her black belt in kickboxing. About The Duke of Edinburgh's Award: The Duke of Edinburgh's Award encourages young people aged 14-25 to reach personally-established goals in four areas: community service, skills development, physical recreation and an adventurous journey. As they pursue Bronze, Silver and Gold levels of The Award, participants must show increasing degrees of effort and commitment, while gaining valuable leadership skills. The programme was founded in 1956 by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to help young people develop a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities. Today, The Award operates in over 100 countries and has become one of the world's most prestigious youth programmes. Brought to Canada in 1963, The Award attracts 36,000 participants each year from every corner of the country. TD Community Giving: Making a Difference Together Children's health, literacy and education, and the environment are the three main areas of focus for TD's community giving. Flagship programs within these areas include: TD Children's Hospital Fund; TD Friends of the Environment Foundation; TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup; TD Canadian Children's Book Week; TD Canada Trust Scholarships for Community Leadership; and the TD Summer Reading Club. With support from customers and employees, TD is involved with a host of national, regional and local causes benefiting diversity, arts and culture and other community programs. In 2008, TD donated $35 million to more than 2100 organizations across Canada. /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on the CNW Photo Network and archived at Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive website at Images are free to accredited members of the media/ For further information: or to arrange for an interview, please contact: Meghan Thomas, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 944-4151,; Toni-Lynn Raponi, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 308-8596,

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