Students of the district Me to We Committee attended the Dec. 18 school board meeting in Salmon Arm to give a presentation on the work they do and speak about the award they received at WE Day in Vancouver. This group only makes up about half the committee, as many students from other parts of the district were unable to make the trip for the meeting. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Students of the district Me to We Committee attended the Dec. 18 school board meeting in Salmon Arm to give a presentation on the work they do and speak about the award they received at WE Day in Vancouver. This group only makes up about half the committee, as many students from other parts of the district were unable to make the trip for the meeting. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

North Okanagan-Shuswap student committee speaks to the benefit of volunteerism

District Me to We Committee work to fund charitable projects at home and abroad

The willingness of youth to take action and make a difference is often underestimated, and the School District 83 Me to We committee is a shining example of youth stepping up to do good things.

This student-led committee works within the students’ communities and extends their reach across the globe to help those in need. The committee is made up of students from across the district who collectively work to plan, fund and execute charitable projects.

Some of these projects include the annual Toonie Tuesday fundraiser, which has raised more than $130,000 to date in support of charitable projects. The students have also travelled internationally to help with the hard work of building the schools they fund.

When asked why they were interested in the committee, and what inspired them to stick with it, their answers touch on common themes.

“When I was in Grade 1, our school did a fundraiser through Me to We for Sierra Leone. That was my first exposure to some of these global issues, and I became very passionately involved with it and it is just something that has carried itself with me through school,” says Maddison Coombs.

“When I was younger I found leadership groups only did things locally, and I thought I could make an impact more globally so that’s why I thought I wanted to join the committee,” adds Keeya Corbett.

Another common theme around the table was a willingness to pay it forward with their good deeds, in hopes of inspiring others.

Related: Shuswap student committee recognized for community involvement

“It’s very important to realize, eventually we’re going to be the adults. Give or take 20 years, we are going to be the people back in this community and if we don’t give back nobody will,” begins Rhys Middleton. “We can inspire others as well to make a better society.”

“Also, learning how to do things without having to be rewarded for them, just doing it out of the kindness of your heart and being selfless, and not always needing gratification,” adds Fiona Young.

At the WE Day celebrations in Vancouver this year, The district Me to We Committee was selected to receive the Get Doing award for their volunteer efforts.

The award is given to students who go above and beyond with their hands-on volunteer efforts. While normally awarded to one student, principal Wendy Woodhurst worked to allow them to receive the award as a group.

WE Day that brings together speakers, activists, philanthropists and students to celebrate a commitment to giving back. They were recognized by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in front of thousands of spectators for their work, and the speakers at the event seem to have left an impression.

“Some of them may not seem as close to the heart, but every once in a while there is one that is so powerful and really meaningful it feels like they are speaking directly to you. It was very nice,” Young says.

“I think with WE day you get to see kids who are doing great jobs but you also get to see adults who prove that just because you are out of high school doesn’t mean you can’t continue doing these things,” adds Corbett.

Particularly of note for sisters Haleigh and Taylor Parker, the event’s recognition of First Nations students was important to them.

“So I have been going down to WE day for a couple years and they always did an acknowledgment of territory,” Haleigh says. “For me and my sister Taylor, coming from an Indigenous family, it means a lot to both of us just because reconciliation means a lot to us and we have lost family members due to the effects of residential schools.”

Related: Student committee receives award during ceremony in Vancouver

Rhys Middleton and Richard Jurasek accepted the award on behalf of the committee, taking to the stage in front of a massive audience to receive it.

“It was really inspiring to be up there in front of that many people,” Middleton begins. “And it was really nice to meet the people backstage as well. All of them are genuine good people. It was crazy to see the rush that went on behind stage as well.”

However, the committee stressed the fact this award was for the entire district and not just their committee. In fact, they presented the award back to the district at the Dec. 18 school board meeting in Salmon Arm and expressed thanks for the help of fellow students.

When asked what they would say to fellow students interested in taking part, or to anyone hoping to get involved in volunteerism, there was no shortage of quick responses.

“Just the experience you get from volunteering, and learning more about your community as well is amazing. You just gain so much experience from it,” says Sebastian Nyeste. “There are so many ideas from other people that you would never think of yourself. It is neat hearing other people’s opinions and what drives people.”

“It can always add a bit more perspective to your life, another point of view which is always beneficial,” adds Chris Ollinger.

“It’s so that you can help make something greater than yourself. Like how to plan and fund a project, something that is beyond our own world,” says Andrew Hall.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Me to We Committee member Rhys Middleton presents the Get Doing Award to board chair Marianne VanBuskirk during the Dec. 18 school board meeting. The committee felt the award was meant for the entire district, and wished to present it to the board as a symbolic gesture. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Me to We Committee member Rhys Middleton presents the Get Doing Award to board chair Marianne VanBuskirk during the Dec. 18 school board meeting. The committee felt the award was meant for the entire district, and wished to present it to the board as a symbolic gesture. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

A change to the drive thru sign at the Tim Hortons in Summerland came before Summerland council on Jan. 25. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council approves variance for drive-thru sign

Questions raised about why issue was brought to council table

Oliver Town Hall (Town of Oliver Facebook).
Call for local artists to design centennial logo for Oliver

The Town of Oliver will be celebrating 100 years in 2021

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

Superstore
Three employees test positive for COVID-19 at Penticton Superstore

Meanwhile, the Skaha 7 Eleven has reopened after closing for a week for COVID

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read