Photography by Linda Roy/Ireva Photography
Meet the Canadian Living 12th annual Me to We winner for the In The Community Award, Tenille Nadkrynechny.
Name: Tenille Nadkrynechny
Where she's from: Grande Prairie, Alta.
Award: In The Community Award
Tenille Nadkrynechny's whole worldview changed when she came across a pamphlet on her kitchen table for Sunrise House, a youth shelter in her hometown of Grande Prairie, Alta. "I had no idea that youth in our community were sleeping in a shelter every night. It shocked me," she says. Tenille, who was 15 at the time, had always loved to sing and had started playing guitar the year before. So she decided to gather some friends for a concert, going door-to-door for sponsors and donating the proceeds to the Grande Prairie Youth Emergency Shelter Society, the organization that runs the city's shelters; she called it Big Hearts for Big Kids.
Unfortunately, on the day of the event, the shelter director came to Tenille distraught because Sunrise House was shutting down immediately due to lack of funding. But they didn't lose hope; instead, Tenille and her friends went ahead with the event and raised $30,000. They did it all over again the next year, and within a year and a half, the youth shelter was renovated and running again, due in large part to the money and awareness raised by the concerts.
Today, Big Hearts for Big Kids has raised $1 million. Not only has the annual event, which happens every February, benefited the hundreds of kids who rely on the shelter but it has also helped unite the Grande Prairie community. "Sometimes, I reflect on the energy in the room and I wish I could bottle it. It's this beautiful spirit," says Tenille. "It has completely shaped my life and given me so much perspective to witness what the power of people coming together can do."
Meet our 2016 Me to We Award winners for more inspirational stories like Tenille's.