United Way Pembina Valley has announced its 2024 youth scholarship winners.
The agency distributes three $1,000 scholarships annually to a graduate from each high school in Morden and Winkler who has demonstrated social awareness and leadership through volunteer service and involvement within the community.
Garden Valley Collegiate's Payton Neufeld will be enteringUniversity 1 this fall and is planning to go into the education program at U of M the year after. She said her time shadowing a teacher at Winkler's Parkland School during her senior year at GVC, solidified her decision to become an early years educator.

"When I finished that credit, I continued to go because I really enjoyed it. So this second semester I would go twice a week during lunch and then period 5, and I worked in a Grade 4 classroom. I kind of just acted as an EA and helped the kids with whatever work they needed. I also got the chance to lead activities throughout the year."

Northlands Parkway Collegiate recipient, Alyssa Neufeld shares what it means for her to be a recipient.

"It takes off the financial burden that comes with attending post-secondary school. I am the first one of my family to even graduate high school, and this allows me to go on and pursue a post-secondary education which is really important to me."

(Alyssa) Neufeld shared the following advice for anyone else with dreams similar to her own.

"A really important thing is to start your volunteering early. Like I'd say, start in middle school or Grade 9 if you can. And it doesn't have to be a lot. It could be as much as one hour a week, but just do what you can. They'll look at your circumstances, so you know, don't be stressed that oh, I don't have enough hours or anything."

Payton and Alyssa advise applying for as many scholarships and bursaries as possible and don't wait until the last minute.

"I've always been raised to give back to the community," shared Morden Collegiate Institute's 2024 United Way Scholarship recipient. "My family has always had a part in the community and recently I've been volunteering at Tabor home in Morden, and I've been spending time with the senior citizens and playing games with them, and it's really opened my eyes to the importance of healthcare workers."

Plett says her time at Tabor Home helped guide her in her career choice, sparking her interest in nursing. 

Plett plans to use her scholarship to help pay for tuition and living costs in Winnipeg when she attends the University of Manitoba.

If you have an opportunity to give back, Plett's advice to other students is, "Just do it!"

"There were opportunities I had throughout high school that I turned down, either because I was too busy with sports or honestly, I just didn't want to do it. But I regret that now as I'm applying for scholarships."

Plett says the more things you can include, will give you an advantage when applying for scholarships, something she is finding out now.