A life-long Sun Peaks local was presented with a Youth Service Award on Tuesday, April 26.
The Rotary Club of Sun Peaks surprised Darby O’Toole with the award for her dedication to volunteering and community programs.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, but my parents both knew that I was going to receive it, and they kind of all kept this secret from me,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole has spent several years volunteering with the Rotary Interact Club, a branch of the Rotary Club specifically for highschool-aged youth. First, she was secretary with the organization, and then became the Sun Peaks Rotary Interact president in September of 2018.
She organized bi-weekly meetings, helped fundraise for the Sun Peaks Community Garden, donated her artwork for various fundraisers and was instrumental in the creation of the Rotary Peace Garden in front of the Sun Peaks Health Clinic, among many other projects.
“I feel that Darby has fully embraced the Rotary system and I also feel that receiving this award will help set her on the road to future involvement,” said Brenda Wilkinson, foundation director for the Rotary Club of Sun Peaks.
O’Toole has just finished her first year of online schooling at Mount Allison University, which is based in New Brunswick, where she studied science, biology and biochemistry. Although she was focused on her studies she tried to volunteer when possible, and said she looks forward to free time this summer to get her hands dirty once again.
“I got to volunteer a little bit but right now I am working on a mural project with the Rotary Club to kind of spruce up the hiking trail to Whitecroft waterfalls,” O’Toole said. “I’m going to do some paintings down there and kind of just clean up the trail.”
O’Toole said she’ll be working during the summer while also volunteering here and there with the Rotary Club, although she has now aged out of the Rotary Interact Club. One of her next projects is helping to set up a Rotaract Club in Sun Peaks, which invites young adults 18 and older to partake in volunteering and community development.
“I think at Sun Peaks right now we don’t have a Rotaract Club, though Brenda has talked about starting one. We just need some members to join up, so hopefully in the next couple of years, we do get one,” O’Toole said.