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 Young Alumna Award 2007

Lindsay OUGHTRED'91
"Lindsay has taken the best of Branksome's offerings and has given back to the community tenfold," says her friend and nominator, Nancy WILLIAMS Garrow'61.
 
Lindsay enrolled in Grade 4 at Branksome, and was Junior School Prefect in her graduating year. She embraced the opportunity to work with children and immersed herself in the students' daily activities and programs.
 
After graduation, Lindsay pursued her B.A. at Queen's University followed by a B.A. in Education from York University. She balanced her studies with volunteer work at Camp Oochigeas, a camp for children with cancer, and at Kaleidoscope-For-Kids, a charitable organization for children with special needs. In 1995, she was Program Director at Camp Awakening in Haliburton, a camp for children with physical disabilities.
 
During the early 1990s, Lindsay traveled to far off places such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Swaziland. In Varanasi, India, she volunteered with World Literacy of Canada, an association that continues today.
 
Her professional teaching career began in1996 at Metro Prep Academy in Toronto, where she was appointed Head of English in 1999. She spearheaded the school's first community service program.
 
In 2006, Lindsay started and then was appointed the first Executive Director of Kids Up Front Foundation (Toronto). Kids Up Front provides access to events for families in need through the distribution of unused tickets and by creating special events.
 
Lindsay has stayed connected to the school, and was an active member of the committee that organized Love\Hate.com at the Centennial Year celebrations. She is an enthusiastic, make-it-happen person who exemplifies the successful integration of career focus, ambitious goal achievement, and a successful family life. Lindsay and her husband, Corey McBurney, are the proud parents of two boys, Nico, 4, and Winn, 2.
 
Excerpts from Lindsay's acceptance speech
"Receiving this award is truly an honour. Achieving one's goals is a life-long process and, although I am happy with what I have done so far, there is still so much to do.
 
I could not talk about my present or future without talking about my past ? and Branksome is a huge part of my past. Being a Branksome student is a privilege; most of us became Branksome students because we had hard-working, educated parents who wanted the very best for us. We had excellent teachers and a fantastic facility. But even though we were privileged, we were not spoiled. We were taught that life's rewards must be earned; we were not simply entitled to them. It is this culture that I am most grateful for.
 
Branksome is committed to developing the whole person and exposing girls to the world beyond Rosedale. Although we were sheltered in a safe and nurturing environment, we were also deliberately exposed to the important social issues of the '80s; issues that many young people would not have had the opportunity to learn about in the way that we did.
 
A few experiences come to mind: two young people living with HIV/AIDS spoke to us during prayers about how their lives were changed by the disease; pro-choice and pro-life advocates gave presentations in the science lab; and we, as students, raised significant funds for an Ethiopian village devastated by drought and famine. The greatest experience, for me, was traveling to Swaziland to help locals build a school.
 
These experiences moved me -- more than I knew at the time. They lit a fire in me that led to years of volunteer work and jobs, both at home and abroad, working mostly with children in need.
 
I recently made a risky and exciting career move. I left a high-school English teaching job after ten years to start the Toronto chapter of the Kids Up Front Foundation (www.kidsupfront.com). Kids Up Front is a registered charity that provides access to community and cultural events for children and youth in need. Our goal in our first year was to reach 5,000 kids in Toronto, but in 14 months we have sent more than 29,000 young people out to the theatre, festivals, music and sporting events - most of them for the first time. Our concept is simple ? we distribute unused tickets ? but the impact on young lives has been huge. Kids Up Front fights social isolation and marginalization by exposing hungry young minds to the many treasures of our city. It gives me so much pleasure to be able to share the gift of cultural exposure and education to others less fortunate.
 
It is my Branksome friends who keep the Branksome community alive for me everyday. They are an incredibly talented group of women, all equally worthy of this award. Of course, the people who deserve the greatest thanks of all are my parents Barb and Winn Oughtred who, with my husband Corey, and my boys Nico and Winn, are my greatest source of inspiration and my greatest supporters."
 

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