On Wednesday, May 4, 10 students from Clearwater Secondary School participated in the United Way’s third annual Youth Day of Caring. The Thompson-Nicola-Cariboo United Way planned the event to correspond with BC Youth Week. According to Francy Hayward, Co-ordinator with the United Way, 200 students throughout the school district volunteered to complete a project that may otherwise not have gotten done. The students were accompanied by their teacher, Marie Giesbrecht, who was also busy pulling weeds and helping out.
“The goal is to empower students and provide an opportunity for young people to take a leadership role in the community,” said Hayward. This is the third year for the program and “we increasingly have more students wanting to participate. They are quite excited about participating and show real enthusiasm for helping. Making a difference makes them feel really good.”
The kids echoed that sentiment. “It’s a chance to help the community and to give back,” said Elijah Kennedy while she worked. Elijah, along with Bayley Ruttan, Shaelynn Thomas, and Caitlyn Harbidge were painting the daycare fence. Over behind the Yellowhead Community Services buidling, Jayson Sutherland and Matthew Jones were busy sweeping up the rather large paved patio. And in the Community Gardens, Alex Butcher, Desi Newby, Ally MacDougal, and Sarah Chauvhala were busy weeding and turning over the soil getting it ready for planting time. Sarah pointed out that volunteering provides an opportunity to develop leadership skills besides fulfilling the 30-hour high school volunteer requirement. According to Sarah, volunteering is a win-win situation with both sides benefitting from the experience.
The United Way teamed up with their partner agency in Clearwater, Yellowhead Community Services, where all the activity took place. Kate Ferguson was the Co-ordinator from YCS and was responsible for preparing snacks and a lunch for the students and all those involved.