With shelves of soccer trophies, accepted in sweats and cleats, Lee Fanelli has another award and far more formal ceremony to add to her collection.
Fanelli plays on the U14 gold Peninsula soccer team that recently qualified for the provincials.
“I’m that kind of girl who loves her sports and she can’t decide which of them she wants to do. So she does them all, even if it means taking up her extra time and activities,” Fanelli said.
While the Peninsula teen is accustomed to the sporting awards, she received her Individual Volunteer award for youth aged 11 to 14 during the 13th annual Youth Now Awards hosted by the United Way of Greater Victoria.
The Grade 8 student at North Saanich middle school is touted as enthusiastic, community focused, and a skilled young leader.
“Her teachers, past and present are unanimous in their characterization of Lee,” said Keray Wing, principal at North Saanich middle school. “She is totally committed to her academics, sports, and providing assistance to her school.”
The straight-A student played key roles on the school volleyball and soccer teams, sings in the school choir and volunteers in a multitude of ways around the school.
“Lee is willing to help with anything that comes up around the school. In many cases, she identifies chores, asks for permission, and follows through in a reliable, efficient manner,” Wing said. “Lee provides assistance and help to her peers and adults alike. In class, Lee provides math support to students who were absent and writes daily announcements on the class bulletin board. It is simply in her nature to provide assistance in all aspects of her school life.”
In fact she’s been volunteering since she was in Grade 3, with strong support from her family. Among her many community volunteer hours, she spends time working with Soccertron, horsemanship camps, art camps, Peninsula Celebrations Society and the Saanich Peninsula Country Market.
“I like to be a part of the community and know what’s going on,” said Fanelli, who swears volunteering comes naturally. “You don’t know how much you’re putting in until they add it all up. I thought I was just doing my normal life,” she said with a shrug. “You just don’t notice.”
“It makes me have more job opportunities,” she added. “It makes you feel better about yourself, feel better about who you are as a person.”