sabella White is sevenand-three-quarters, to
Ibe precise. She's a well-spoken, friendly little girl, with long light-brown hair. She likes games, tennis and kayaking. Her favourite animal is a giraffe, and her most beloved foods are watermelon and cherries.
As a member of Girl Guides, she is one of five girls across the country singled out for her confidence as part of the annual Girl Greatness Awards.
"I won the award because I have confidence now, because I'm in Guides," she says seated on the couch with her dad, Stephen, in their Brentwood-area home.
Isabella's wearing her Brownies sash, adorned with the various colourful badges she's earned and clearly proud of. Prior to joining Brownies, Isabella was less outgoing.
"I'd sort of be shy. I wouldn't really talk that much. I wouldn't say hi really," she says in the small voice of a sevenyear-old.
When Isabella was in her mother's womb, the
umbilical cord wrapped around her arm and cut off Isabella's circulation. She's subsequently grown up with her left arm amputated close to the elbow. It's something that elicits stares or questions from other kids that can be tiresome at times. It's also something that's made her nervous to speak in front of strangers.
"I think I didn't have that much courage (before). I am still a little shy now, but before I was really shy because meeting new people that you don't know might be a little different, it might be scary sometimes," she says.
In Brownies, having to stand in front of a group and do badge presentations has helped Isabella's confidence.
"When you get a new badge, you have to show it to the group, talk about it or maybe bring something," she says.
If you ask her how she now feels about meeting new people, she says she feels great.
"If you stand up and talk to people, you won't be so much shy," she says.
That blossoming confidence is what earned her the award - a special pin to wear with her uniform, and there's a certificate that goes with it. Isabella's mom helped nominate her, and Scouts members voted online for the winners, which were announced May 30.
"She was the only Brownie in Western Canada that won the award," Dad says.
"I feel really lucky," Isabella says. "I was really excited, right Daddy?"
"You were, it was really cool," he says.
"I was jumping up and down a lot because I won the award."
"And then, what was the first thing you told me though? Remember? You said all the other girls. I was driving you to school, and what did you say in the car?"
"I felt a little sad for the other girls," Isabella says.
The ones who didn't win, her dad adds.
Stephen thinks it's all pretty amazing.
"Brownies has been good for her, but it's been good for the other girls 'cause they can see that 'Bella can do things that they can do even though she only has one hand, right?" he says. "'Bella, you're pretty used to being looked at, aren't you?"
"You've always kind of had to deal with people, especially younger kids asking questions and talking about your arm," he says.
"So you're pretty good at answering questions anyway, and you're certainly used to being stared at," he says.
"Yeah. - It gets a little old after kids ask me a lot of times about my arm," Isabella says.
As for advice to others who may be struggling with confidence, Isabella, with help from dad, suggests doing something social and joining a group like Brownies. Isabella's award profile says she has made many new friends in Brownies and that they see that she can do anything they can, even with a missing arm.
"Sometimes I do things differently and sometimes the same," she wrote. "I have proven that any girl can participate in guiding, even if they have a disability."
"She's a great girl," Dad says.
And Isabella nods.