Nanako Emori has seen a change in herself since being part of Community Helpers when she was 15.
Run by the Town of Banff, Community Helpers are introduced to issues like suicide prevention, alcohol abuse, and physical abuse.
“Community Helpers try to help the people who watch out for those type of things … so we’re kind of like the linking bridge between the people and community resources,” said Emori.
Now 17, Emori is more understanding of people who struggle with these afflictions, and has become a better listener to those in need.
“I started in Community Helpers to help people, but in the end, I’m the one who is being helped – I grew a lot as a person,” Emori said. “It was definitely a life changing experience and I still keep in touch with Community Helpers. They’re my life mentors.”
Born in Japan, Emori has lived in Banff since she was only a few months old, and recently started Grade 12 at Banff Community High School. At one time, she was afraid to speak in front of groups of people; even talking in front of her classmates was enough to get her adrenaline going. Last year, however, she overcame her anxiety and spoke at a mentorship conference. She is also involved as a tour guide for Parks Canada, volunteering her time by escorting visitors up Tunnel Mountain.
In a Remembrance Day national poster contest, Emori received an honourable mention and will travel to Ottawa in November for recognition. She is proud of her work which
features three Canadian soldiers – a veteran, a soldier in the First World War, and a soldier in Afghanistan, all walking towards the audience with a Canadian flag in the background.