A young Windsorite is among a handful of Canadians honoured by the Governor General this week for their commitment to volunteering.
Karl Zhu, 20, received the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers at a ceremony with Gov. Gen Mary Simon in Ottawa on Thursday. The award honours "exceptional dedication to community service" and is the country's highest honour for volunteers.
Zhu said the award caught him by surprise, and it was a great honour to accept it.
"It really does mean a lot to myself. Just being able to contribute to our community and really make an impact in the community, as well as just meeting leaders and volunteers from all around the country," he said.
He adds the experience has set off his motivation to continue giving back.
The Governor General's website notes Zhu has "established himself as a young community leader" through being involved with more than 15 organizations including the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Chinese Association of Greater Windsor. He also founded Border City Hacks, a computer science learning opportunity for students.
Zhu is currently a student at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, pursuing two separate undergraduate degrees in computer science and business administration.
Zhu was among 23 award recipients from across the country.
The awards were given ahead of National Volunteer Week, which begins on April 24.
For those who might be interested in giving volunteering a shot, Zhu said that giving back to the community is an "empowering" experience.
"Windsor has...so many good organizations doing good work for Windsorites and Canadians. So definitely reach out to them, let them know you're interested. And I'm sure they'll more than welcome your help and your time," he said.