A group of Queen Elizabeth Secondary students is helping make a difference in the lives of those in need, after their advocacy garnered $5,000 for Surrey Urban Mission (SUM).
The students were participants in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), which grants hundreds of thousands of dollars to community-based social service charities each year, based on the research, presentations and support of secondary students.
About 40 groups at Queen Elizabeth have been participating in YPI throughout the year, giving presentations about their chosen charities. Three groups faced judges in the finals, with Grade 10 students Manveer Sidhu, Harnoor Cheema, Catherine Huinh and Jessica Basra’s group winning first place.
The students not only explained and created a visual representation of SUM’s initiatives, but used Kahoot (an online quiz platform that specializes in game-based learning) to make the presentation interactive and encourage audience participation.
They also spoke about how the money would benefit the organization, and about their experience volunteering to serve breakfast to the mission’s clientele.
“Sometimes when you look at them, you can’t really tell the difference… that they’re struggling,” acknowledged Huinh.
Mike Musgrove, executive director at SUM, visited the school to receive the cheque from the QE students, whose efforts he praised.
“We’ve had other YPI groups come in and compete on our behalf and we haven’t had anyone succeed,” he said. “So, this is just an amazing result and we are absolutely thrilled. We are beside ourselves.”
SUM provides meals, shelter and support to community members in need.
Musgrove said SUM is looking to improve the shelter and upgrade from mats on the floor to cots, as well purchase pillows and extra sheets for shelter guests. The student-generated funds, he said, means the improvements can go ahead.
“It’s unbelievable, and your timing is phenomenal,” Musgrove said. “Now we have no concerns. We know that we have the money…”
The students were thrilled their philanthropic efforts were successful.
“We never thought we’d win,” said Basra.
This is the 10th year Queen Elizabeth Secondary has run the YPI program.
– BY SHEILA REYNOLDS (Surrey Schools)