Allysa Kristiansen Yeulett is this year’s recipient of the Kelowna Kiwanis Legacy Major Entrance Award in Education. Established by the Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society, the award is presented to a student pursuing the Teaching Children (Kindergarten to Grade 5+) pathway who has demonstrated volunteer and/or leadership skills.
“I am really thankful and grateful to receive this award,” says Allysa. “It will allow me to focus on school and decrease my work hours without having some of the financial stresses. I have a long-standing gratitude for Kiwanis, and am extremely thankful for the work they have done, especially for the help they gave my grandma. She lived in the Kiwanis Legacy Tower, which helped her to maintain her independence.”
Allysa has long felt passionate about giving back to the community. Growing up in Westbank, she started volunteering for the City of West Kelowna’s children and youth events as a teen.
“I’d be the elf that would help the little kids see Santa, or lead a station at the Halloween Bash where the kids would have to touch and guess what hidden objects were, like cold spaghetti,” she says with a smile. “Those events were always so much fun.”
At her high school, she volunteered with a program that helped older adults with their technology, such as showing them how to Facetime to video chat with relatives or how to use social media. More recently, she volunteered as a summer camp counsellor at Class of West K, an organization that offers early childhood care, behaviour intervention and distance learning programs.
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference,” she says. “I want to look back in 20 years and feel like I made a difference for someone. For my community. That’s my biggest motivator.”
Her drive and passion to better her community and those around her are part of the reason she decided to pursue teaching. Although even at a young age, she was interested in teaching, and was especially inspired by the teachers she had growing up.
“My grade three teacher made every single person feel important and loved,” she says. “I also had teachers in high school that were always there for you, made learning fun, and truly made a difference in my life.”
Looking ahead to the next 15 months of her Bachelor of Education program, Allysa is looking forward to learning how to connect with larger groups of students.
“Especially with my experience as a tutor, I am really good at being able to connect one-on-one and make a connection with a student to help them feel safe and comfortable, but how will I make time to have that connection with 20 or 30 children? I’m excited to learn.”
She is also enthusiastic about exploring the different types of pedagogy and finding out what methods work best for her.
“There are some methods I’ve learned already that work really well for me, but I know there will be new ways that will help me connect with different students, and create the most successful environment that I can for them.”