Glenlyon Norfolk School student Matthew Yang, 16, has always enjoyed leadership, the process of creating and organizing events in Victoria, and leading them to benefit more people, whether it’s for humanitarian aid, fundraising or sports. (Courtesy Matthew Yang)

Glenlyon Norfolk School student Matthew Yang, 16, has always enjoyed leadership, the process of creating and organizing events in Victoria, and leading them to benefit more people, whether it’s for humanitarian aid, fundraising or sports. (Courtesy Matthew Yang)

Victoria teen earns prestigious Diana Award for social work

Glenlyon Norfolk student earns nod for non-proft to create equality in education

A Greater Victoria teen working in Kazakhstan is among the recipients of a 2022 Diana Award for social work and humanitarian efforts.

Glenlyon Norfolk School student Matthew Yang, 16, has always enjoyed leadership, the process of creating and organizing events in Victoria, and leading them to benefit more people, whether it’s for humanitarian aid, fundraising or sports.

The teen, currently in Kazakhstan working for UNESCO Almaty to study Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbaiuly, is among the recipients of the prestigious award, for going above and beyond in daily life to create and sustain positive change.

Established in 1999 in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, William and Harry. The charity fosters, develops and inspires positive change through four key programs which include: a mentoring program for young people at risk; a youth-led anti-bullying ambassadors campaign; a collaborative change-makers program that aims to reimagine mental health support for young people from racialized communities; and The Diana Award that publicly recognizes young change-makers.

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Yang was alerted to the award when a college professor sought permission to nominate him for his work to create equality and address mental health awareness with the non-profit organization he created – Global Scholars Union.

“At GSU, we believe in education equality, irrespective of the student’s background or identity,” he said.

The youth organization aims to defy education inequality by providing in-class lessons to students in need worldwide. Recognizing the importance of children’s mental health, GSU focuses on developing moral principles and emotional intelligence in students so future generations can grow up to be vigorous global citizens. The organization has expanded to include Africa, Europe, and Asia and has influenced thousands of impoverished youths globally.

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While winning an award – even as prestigious as The Diana Award – is not his mission, Yang is aware it can help with his goal of creating education equality.

“It’s a strange dynamic since I’ve always, and still, believe it’s an obligation for me to give back to the society which has helped me so much in the past. But if I can use my voice to inspire more youths to carry out social work within their community. I will be delighted,” he told Black Press Media.

He plans to continue to carry out his humanitarian work in various ways including inspiring fellow youth to use creative ideas to solve social problems and provide a road map for making a transformative difference.

Learn more about the non-profit at mygsu.org.


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