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The 16th annual RISE Awards Gala will celebrate the accomplishments of newcomers, immigrants, individuals and organizations in Edmonton on Thursday.

The event is hosted by the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. It includes dinner, live performances, featured artists and award presentations for community leadership, arts and culture, building futures, welcoming workplace and the CPA lifetime achievement award.

Athiang Makuoi will receive the 2019 RBC Rising Star Youth Award for her community activism and youth engagement.

Makuoi is a volunteer, a student at the University of Alberta and co-founder of the South Sudanese Youth of Canada organization and runs its Edmonton chapter.

"We really engage with the youth and figure out what they need from us, to help them succeed," Makuoi said. "And as an immigrant, you face a lot of barriers – with integration, with just figuring out what your identity is here – so a lot of our work is to help them and uplift them, to push them to the best of themselves and kind of just make friends along the way too."

The RISE Awards Gala begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Edmonton Expo Centre.