In the News
June 9, 2014
Source: Ian MacAlpine, Kingston Whig-Standard
When it comes to volunteering, local high school students are a generous bunch.
According to the United Way of Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington, 3,364 students this year volunteered 15,326 hours during the Change the World: Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge.
This year’s numbers represented an 85% increase in youth volunteers and an 83% increase in volunteer hours over 2013.
Students from Bayridge Secondary School organized a day-long conference on April 23 for high school environmental clubs and public school students.
The fourth annual One Earth One Chance Summit drew about 200 public school students along with high school students with environmental interests.
Bayridge Grade 10 student Alyssa Burrows was one of the many volunteers for the summit.
“It takes a lot of planning in terms of writing out name tags, making the schedule and getting presenters to come in,” said Burrows.
She said they achieved their goals with the summit.
“We hoped to accomplish a better awareness about environment issues and better ways to improve your environmental consciousness.”
Grade 9 student Tiffanie Bankosky said it’s important to teach the younger generation about the environment.
“Because we’re going to be the ones who grow up and start running the world. So if we have those environmental habits within ourselves already then the world will continue being more environmentally friendly.”
Tiffanie’s twin sister, Tia, sees the importance of volunteering.
“Most organizations don’t have enough money to pay people to come in and do the work so having volunteers is really useful and they can put that money that they would use to pay people towards other things that would make the event run better,” she said.
“Volunteering gets you out in the community.”
She said people tend to want to do the work as a volunteer instead of passing it on for others to do.
“The ‘they’ has to be you and volunteering is the way to get things done,” said Tia.
Volunteering helps people explore their interests more, said Burrows.
“You can be a role model in your community,” she said.
Other projects that got the attention of the United Way Volunteer Centre included; La Salle Secondary students cleaned up their school and surrounding area with their Green Day Black Knight project; The Boys and Girls Club in a youth Bake Off; Ernestown Secondary School students donated blood; students from Regiopolis-Notre Dame andd Holy Cross Catholic secondary schools collected food door to door during the Partners in Mission Food Bank Food Blitz; and students from Mille-Iles volunteered with the Food Sharing Project.
Bayridge Secondary School staff advisor Angela Evans has seen an increase in student volunteerism.
“Students are realizing the importance of volunteering within their community and starting to volunteer at their school is a great way to initiate volunteer hours,” said Evans.
United Way President and CEO Bhavana Varma said this was the third year in a row local youth have surpassed goals by a wide margin.
“This speaks well to the future of volunteer engagement and youth leadership in KFL&A,” she said.
The United Way initiative was made possible with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
Students were invited to log in their volunteer hours through the United Way Volunteer Centre between April 6 and May 19.
High school students need 40 hours of volunteer work to graduate but the statistics bear out that many students are surpassing the number of hours.
Students from the Limestone and Algonquin and Lakeshore District Catholic school boards took part as well as youth from Ecole Secondaire-publique Milles-Iles, Pathways to Education, The Boys and Girls Club and Youth 2 Kingston Collaborative Action Steering Team participated in the challenge.