Ful­fill­ing a dream

White­way singer’s ob­ses­sion with mu­sic earns pro­vin­cial award

The Compass - - NEWS - BY BILL BOW­MAN

“ If you’ve never heard of Lau­ren Ge­orge, it will only take one song, and you’ll never for­get her,” said Adam His­cock.

The pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor for the New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion of Com­mu­nity Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tions (CBDCs) made the re­mark in his in­tro­duc­tion of Lau­ren as the win­ner of the Ex­cel­lence in Artis­tic Achieve­ment award dur­ing the an­nual Youth Ven­tures awards cer­e­mony held Aug. 17 at the Har­bour Breeze in Har­bour Grace.

A Level II stu­dent at Cres­cent Col­le­giate in Blake­town, Lau­ren is the daugh­ter of Roger and Deb­bie Ge­orge of White­way.

His­cock, who hosted the event, said Lau­ren “has been caus­ing goose bump epi­demics ev­ery­where she sings.”

Her de­but al­bum, Ob­ses­sion, fea­tures orig­i­nal songs about teenage love and friend­ships. Lau­ren wrote eight of the 12 songs on her al­bum.

Not ex­pect­ing the award, the 16year-old told The Com­pass: “I feel I’m fi­nally ful­fill­ing a dream I’ve had in my mind since I was five years old.” The multi-tal­ented mu­si­cian, who plays gui­tar, pi­ano and clar­inet, said af­ter high school she plans to study law.

Lau­ren was one of nine young en­trepreneurs from around the prov­ince who picked up awards dur­ing the Youth Ven­tures 13th an­nual awards lun­cheon, which at­tracted close to 100 par­tic­i­pants.

His­cock noted this sum­mer 22 Youth Ven­tures site co-or­di­na­tors around the prov­ince have helped more than 160 youth plan, start and run a busi­ness.

Youth Ven­tures was es­tab­lished to help fos­ter the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit in the prov­ince’s youth. Work­ing with young peo­ple from the plan­ning stage through to start-up and while the busi­ness is op­er­at­ing, site co­or­di­na­tors help busi­nesses be suc­cess­ful. Each year, Youth Ven­tures presents awards to some of the top achievers in­volved in the pro­gram.

Youth Ven­tures is a youth-based ini­tia­tive spon­sored by the New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion of CBDCs and funded by the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency (ACOA) and the pro­vin­cial Depart­ment of Hu­man Re­sources, Labour and Em­ploy­ment.

CBDCs are a n e two r k o f au­ton­o­mous, not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions that work in co­op­er­a­tion with all lev­els of govern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor to meet the needs of small busi­ness.

Very pleased to see a young artist from this re­gion pick up a pro­vin­cial award, Stan Reid, vice-chair­man of the as­so­ci­a­tion of CBDCs, said Youth Ven­tures is a “ very im­por­tant pro­gram, which gives youth the op­por­tu­nity to start busi­nesses with our sup­port and coun­selling.”

Re­fer­ring to the young en­trepreneurs as “our fu­ture,” Reid said, “ we want to sup­port them in any way we can.”

Su­san Sul­li­van, Min­is­ter of Hu­man Re­sources, Labour and Em­ploy­ment, de­scribed the prov­ince’s $80,000 com­mit­ment to Youth Ven­tures for this year as, “a small price to pay for the re­turn we re­ceive.”

When we see peo­ple as young as 13 start on their jour­ney in busi­ness, Sul­li­van sug­gested, “it’s in­spir­ing to see young peo­ple in­volved at such an early age.”

Im­pressed with the young en­trepreneurs in the room, Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace MHA and Health Min­is­ter Jerome Kennedy told them, “you’re so far ahead of me when I was your age.”

Para­phras­ing Dr. Seuss, Kennedy ssaid, “if you work hard enough and be­lieve in your­self, the sky is the limit.”

Added Sen­a­tor Fabian Man­ning: “ In ad­di­tion to your own per­sonal growth as busi­ness own­ers, you have all made con­tri­bu­tions to your com­mu­nity.”

And that’s why the fed­eral govern­ment, through ACOA, has sup­ported the Youth Ven­tures Pro­gram for the past 18 years, he said.

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