Ellen Youn-Nguyen has been named Mission’s Citizen of the Year. / Kevin Mills Photo

Ellen Youn-Nguyen has been named Mission’s Citizen of the Year. / Kevin Mills Photo

Ellen Youn-Nguyen named Mission’s Citizen of the Year

She said volunteering has always been part of her life

When Ellen Youn-Nguyen was informed that she had been named Mission’s Citizen of the Year, she thought she was being pranked.

“I was stunned. It was a letter and I kind of read it a couple of times and wondered what does this mean? I was just amazed.”

When friends confirmed that she indeed had won the award, she realized the honour was real.

Youn-Nguyen said you don’t volunteer expecting to receive awards, you do it because your part of the community or your helping a program that your children may be involved in.

“You just naturally want to do it.”

Youn-Nguyen has lived in Mission for almost 20 years and in that time she volunteered with Mission Minor Baseball, the Mission Sports Council, Mission Skating Club, the Mission District Historical Society, and the Rotary Club of Mission Mid-day, just to name a few.

According to the organizers of the City of Mission Community Services Awards, held April 26 at the Clarke Theatre, Youn- Nguyen was awarded the Citizen of the Year Award for 2022 in recognition and appreciation of her enthusiastic and positive community spirit, and her tireless efforts on behalf of a variety of different organizations over the years.

She said volunteering has always been part of her life.

“My parents were like that, they were very giving to the community.”

During her acceptance speech Youn-Nguyen shared a story from her childhood that she says has stuck with her for her entire life.

She said she was walking down the street in Vancouver with her mom when a young woman, who appeared cold and hungry, asked for some money. Her mother pulled out her wallet and gave her some.

A young Youn-Nguyen asked her mom a question.

“I asked her, ‘Why would you give away money to a stranger?’ and her response to me at that time was that this young woman is someone’s daughter … She wanted me to know that if it was me on the streets, that the kindness of strangers could help me if she wasn’t there to do so.”

It was a lesson well learned.

“Volunteers need to be there to help run programs, nobody will do it for us.”

She said her own volunteer work became more prominent since she had children, but now her career has created even more opportunities.

As the owner and publisher of What’s On Mission magazine she is constantly networking with groups, businesses and organizations which led to other volunteer opportunities.

While she enjoys helping the community, she admits that volunteering simply makes her feel good.

“Volunteering it sounds philanthropic and all that but its actually a very selfish act. You feel good, that’s your pleasure in helping the community. And I live in this community so it’s like I’m part of the village. I want to be part of the foundation that makes the city, or village run. It’s a sense of community and joy.”


Ellen - submitted