Outstanding young Nova Scotian volunteers gathered in Dartmouth today, March 28, to have their efforts and accomplishments celebrated at this year’s Youth Nominee Luncheon. They were nominated by their community for consideration of the Provincial Volunteer Award or the Crime Prevention Award. Young people make up an important segment of volunteers in Nova Scotia, with about 65 per cent in the 15-24 age group volunteering. “It is wonderful and heartening to see the efforts of this next generation of volunteers and the valuable contributions they are making in their communities every day,” said Marilyn More, Minister of the Voluntary Sector. “Each and every one of these young Nova Scotians is setting a great example that all of us should follow.” Despite school demands, part-time work, and extra-curricular activities, young people in Nova Scotia are finding time to give a total of 132 million hours of volunteer time every year. For Devon Bate, a Grade 12 student at Northumberland Regional High School, volunteering started at an early age. After serving as class president at his middle school, he continued to get involved both at school and in the community. After returning from a trip to Guatemala in Grade 10 where he helped build schools, libraries and orphanages, Devon started his own fundraising business called Sweat for Others. By organizing sporting events and donating the proceeds to charity, Sweat for Others has raised over $1,800 for the IWK, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and charities in Guatemala. “I’m the youngest of four brothers and I believe that a person’s community is like their extended family” said Mr. Bate. “People should help those that live around them. We can use our skills to give back to our communities, each of us supporting one another.” Now eighteen years old, Devon founded the Pictou County Youth Council in May. The organization focuses on environmental awareness and cleanups, as well as awareness campaigns to encourage young people to get involved. The organization was recently given a $10,000 grant from the Heartwood Centre for Community Youth Development to fund programs across the province. “I was always told to never pass up an opportunity because you never know where it will take you. Volunteering has given me so many important and wonderful experiences. It has given me the chance to help others here at home and abroad in ways I never could have imagined.” Devon Bate is one of 40 young volunteers being honoured at this year’s luncheon.