This year some of the region’s most vulnerable have faced compiling shortfalls.
More people than ever saw financial hardship in tandem with shelters and soup kitchens closing down due to COVID-19 restrictions. Luckily, students from the Sooke School District (SD62) stepped up to the plate with their annual event, 10,000 Tonight, which aims to collect 10,000 food items for local shelters.
“It brought a sense of normalcy to plan something,” explained Brian Hobson, leadership teacher at Royal Bay Secondary. “It was hard to deal with what’s been happening but it didn’t take away from the students being helpful and giving back.”
The collective effort between Royal Bay Secondary, Belmont Secondary and Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) hit many speedbumps this year. The normal plan to canvas door-to-door was no longer feasible, so students planned a two-week drive-thru. However, after one day in action, the drive-thru was shut down due to provincial health restrictions.
That’s when Grade 12 EMCS student Genelle Hill advocated for online donations through the district website, which was partnered with a Facebook silent auction.
Through these methods, as well as donation stations placed at local businesses, the students collected more than $18,000 and 1,500 food items.
“I think that the experience made us stronger and helped us see how things happen in the real world,” said Sophie Venables, a Grade 9 student at Belmont.
The Youth Volunteer Award is meant to honour a young individual (or individuals) under the age of 18, who make a positive contribution to the community through volunteer efforts, community engagement, leading by example and having directly impacted the community.
Since the past year has been like no other, we thought it was fitting to award this year’s Youth Volunteer Award to the students of SD62 as a collective for their flexibility, resilience and creativity with 10,000 Tonight. The recipients on behalf of Belmont will be Louisa Krusekopf (Grade 12) and Sophie Venables (Grade 9), from Royal Bay Peyton Gust (Grade 12) and from EMCS Genelle Hill (Grade 12), with special thanks to leadership teachers Christine Hoskins, Brian Hobson and Tom Powell.
Nominations for the 2022 Local Hero Awards West Shore open on Feb. 25. To learn more, go to hero.goldstreamgazette.com.
– Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff
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