Mission woman wins Miss Fraser Valley title

Brittany O’Rourke will work to inspire local youth

Mission's Brittany O'Rourke is crowned Miss Fraser Valley at the Miss

Mission's Brittany O'Rourke is crowned Miss Fraser Valley at the Miss

This year’s Miss Fraser Valley will be using her crown as inspiration to work with youth and create a sense of belonging and culture for aboriginal youngsters.

Mission’s Brittany O’Rourke was named Miss Fraser Valley at the Miss, Mrs, and Miss Teen BC Pageant on June 30. She was one of 50 contestants in the competition.

“I was shocked, and so thrilled,” said O’Rourke after her win.

O’Rourke explained the experience was “empowering” and it motivated her to continue with her cause and passion to work with youth.

Twenty-three-year-old O’Rourke was born and raised in Mission. She graduated from Mission Secondary School in 2009, and after overcoming some personal challenges, she enrolled herself in the child and youth care program at Douglas College.

While attending college, she explored her First Nations background and found the motivation she needed to live a better life.

O’Rourke’s mother was part of the Skatin nation near Pemberton, but was adopted when she was two years old by a family in Agassiz, and grew up without any connections to the First Nations.

O’Rourke, whose father was British, wasn’t raised in the aboriginal culture either, but as a child, she knew she was different because she had darker skin. Other kids would ask about her background, but O’Rourke couldn’t provide any answers.

“I felt a part of me was missing. I was disconnected with my culture.”

She began researching her background. A college project on community centres led her to the Mission Friendship Centre on First Avenue where she met staff, volunteers and visitors who encouraged her on her path.

“It was amazing to work with people who live the red road,” said O’Rourke. “It inspired me to live a holistic life, a better life.”

The red road is a way of life that focuses on the four quadrants of the medicine wheel that addresses a person’s spiritual, mental, physical and emotional well-being.

O’Rourke, who works as the aboriginal youth liaison for the Mission school district, began speaking with her mother about her findings and sharing her experiences with children struggling with their identity.

“Once I started learning about (culture), it changed my life.”

O’Rourke described her job and her newly acquired title, as a “dream come true.”

She has already received invitations to attend fundraisers and speak at events and looks forward to becoming involved in the community.

Just Posted

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family homeless after fire rips through house on Abbotsford border

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Quarry Questions: Supreme Court ruling spells concern for Mission bylaws

Judge ruled that provincial permits overrule municipal bylaws relating to mining activity

COLUMN: Permanently scarred or temporarily paranoid

Covid has changed my view on socializing

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Most Read