By Frank Bucholtz/Special to Aldergrove Star
Aldergrove Community Secondary students did their homework before deciding which community group to give $5,000.
Langley Meals on Wheels was the recipient of a $5,000 Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) award on March 10.
The award goes each year to one of the non-profit organizations profiled as part of the YPI work done by Careers 10 students at Aldergrove Community Secondary, after each projects is presented to an audience and judges.
YPI “engages students in an authentic, inquiry-based process, which is structured around carefully designed outcomes and tasks,” according to YPI.
It is a national program and the $5,000 awards to charities through participating schools are raised by YPI itself. It is a learning program designed to give students hands-on experience in the real world and to help them develop 21st century skills, according to the organization’s website goypi.org.
It started in one school in Canadian 2002, and there are now participating schools across the country, as well as in the United Kingdom and New York City.
“The students get a chance to learn about some incredible work going on in their own backyard,” said Nadine Luteijn, careers department head.
Aldergrove Community Secondary has been taking part in YPI for the past six years. This has meant that $30,000 of funding through YPI has gone to local charities.
“After needing to significantly adapt the YPI program over the COVID years, it was fantastic to finally be running YPI as it is intended, with students visiting with their charity representative at their site and hosting a big celebration for students to present to an audience. Making this personal connection with their charity is incredibly impactful, as several students continue to be involved with their charity through volunteer service,” Luteijn said.
In teams, ACSS Grade 10 students took part in YPI by researching social problems in their community, and creating engaging and persuasive presentations on a local charity they believe is best placed to tackle the issues they care about. At the YPI final school presentation assembly, the winning teams from each Careers 10 class delivered their presentation in front of a large audience of their peers and a panel of judges (which included past student finalists). One team’s charity ultimately is selected as the recipient of the $5,000 grant.
The winning project centred on Langley Meals on Wheels - Aldergrove Community Station House. The station house serves as LMOW headquarters and houses a range of programs. Meals for clients are prepared there, along with many other activities. The building is the former Aldergrove fire hall and is leased by Langley Township to the Meals on Wheels society.
The winning project was put together by students Ivan Green, Jaden Eby, Jacky Guyho, Kaliyah Wilkie and Sophie Oravec.
Other charities profiled by students at the March 10 final presentation were: Stepping Stone Community Service Society, Wagner Hills, Inclusion Langley Society, Foundry Langley, and Salvation Army Gateway of Hope.
Careers 10 teacher Joel Stadie said the YPI project “was a great opportunity for the kids. Students were excited to have the opportunity to make a real impact with the chance to earn the grant for their selected charity. Through the process of contacting and connecting with local charities, students were able to recognize how their actions and their research for the project was actually connected to their community, in a way that is sometimes difficult to do with school assignments.
“They weren’t just thinking about skills that could help them later in life, but instead were seeing how they can make a difference today. And I think that is a big part of what encouraged students to stay involved with their selected charities. They could see the value in volunteering and realized the agency they had to make that difference.”
LMOW not only benefits from the $5,000 but from student involvement.
“We are honoured to have been chosen by the students as a charity organization that is making a difference on a social issue,” said Shannon Woykin, executive director.
She added that, over spring break, about 20 students volunteered with Meals on Wheels.
“This was a huge gift of time, giving the regular volunteers a break, including the two chefs. There were many jobs to choose from – kitchen prep, cafe, kitchen organization, including the walk-in fridge and freezer. They also helped get our laptops and computers cleaned up and running for our computer training lab, a program under development,” she said.
“The students were all hard workers and were such a pleasure to have as part of our volunteer team. The students really enjoyed working with the seniors that volunteer, asking lots of questions about the olden days and life questions. It was amazing to see the friendship develop.”
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