For members of Spencer middle school’s Youth in Action Club, it’s all about making a difference locally and globally.
The club, in its third year, has close to 20 members from Grades 6 and 7 who meet during lunch hour on Thursdays. Together they come up with initiatives that have a broad reach, explained Grade 7 student Annalise Steadman, who joined the group last year.
“I heard about the club and thought it was a great way to make a difference in the community and help me develop leadership skills,” she said this week before the group travelled to Vancouver yesterday (Nov. 3) for the We Day Conference at Rogers Arena.
Grade 7 student Kira Porter, also in her second year, said she joined because of a lifelong desire to help other kids. “I think we’re accomplishing that in a lot of different ways,” she noted.
During its three years of existence, the Youth in Action Club has raised more than $2,000 through a variety of fundraisers that have assisted local charities, including Education is Power, Free the Children and Plan International. They have also collected thousands of items for the Goldstream Food Bank and raised money to pay for the cost of educating a child in Kenya from kindergarten through to Grade 12.
“She would never have gotten that opportunity without our help,” noted Grade 7 student Katie Thompson.
Another recent project involved putting on a luncheon for the school’s facilities staff.
“I don’t think students realize the hard work they do and we wanted to acknowledge that,” Thompson said.
Grade 6 student Zack Ralph was motivated to join the club this year by his older sister.
“She always talks about the challenges facing kids who don’t have (the kinds of things) we take for granted,” he said. “It made me want to learn more about their situation to see how I could help.”
Kayla Talarico, a Grade 6 student also in her first year with the Youth in Action Club, said she was inspired by a desire to make positive changes in her community.
“This is a great opportunity to do that,” she said. “You get to see that you are making a difference.”
All of the students were excited about attending the We Day conference, an international initiative that brings students together in different locations around the world for a day of sharing ideas, hearing presentations by inspirational speakers and enjoying live music.
Roughly 20,000 were planning to attend the Vancouver event, while more than 200,000 young people were expected to attend worldwide.
Steadman looked forward to her first We Day and expected it to be an amazing experience. Ralph said he was excited for the opportunity to meet like-minded students who want to change the world. Thompson, Talarico, Steadman and Porter agreed and believe the event would inspire each of them in different ways.
“Together we can make a change,” they said, almost in unison.
Vice-principal Jennifer Nixon, the group’s organizer, said the students in the Youth in Action Club truly believe they can make a difference not just in their own community, but around the world.
“These kids are real leaders who work hard to achieve their goals,” she said. “Our future’s in good hands with kids like that.”