Cory Nicotine recognized for youth work with iHuman

Cory Nicotine, who grew up in Saddle Lake, Alta., was chosen by a panel of judges in Toronto as a winner of Samara's Everyday Political Citizen Award.
Community leader Cory Nicotine, right, chats with Albert Favel at the inner-city agency iHuman. Nicotine is on a short list for an award that recognizes political engagement. (Gareth Hampshire CBC)

When he was nominated for a national award, Cory Nicotine said while it was an honour, he didn't like the attention.

It seems he's going to have to get used to it. Nicotine was chosen by a panel of judges in Toronto as a winner of the Everyday Political Citizen Award.

The Cree man, who grew up in Saddle Lake, was one of four award winners chosen from 300 nominations across the country.

Nicotine's work as a mentor at the Edmonton organization iHuman was one of the reasons he was nominated. The agency is proud of his achievement.

"He's so humble and very reflective and mindful and compassionate so I think he's a terrific role model for other young people to see they can change their circumstance and be recognized for it." said Catherine Broomfield. iHuman's executive director.

Nicotine, 26, is still in Toronto where the award winners were announced by CBC personality Rick Mercer.

Toronto-based research group Samara gives out the awards in various age categories to people who show dedication and involvement in their communities.

Nicotine started to come into his own, while  working alongside young people at iHuman, which has built a reputation for its arts-based programming.

"They almost looked inspired to do better because I was doing OK." He said.

He went on to set up programs to bring youth from all cultures together, to talk to each other about their challenges and the world around them.

His efforts have now been recognized on a national level.

And those who've watched him grow at iHuman are planning to give him a special welcome home to Edmonton at the airport this weekend.

"We're definitely proud of him. It's wonderful so many people see the same things we do." said Broomfield.