They're 20 of the greatest kids you'd ever want to meet, and they're all Manitobans.
The recipients of this year's Young Humanitarian Awards will be honoured Wednesday by the Manitoba Teachers' Society for reaching out to their classmates and communities with compassion.
'We are thrilled to highlight these exceptional young humanitarians'
"We are thrilled to highlight these exceptional young humanitarians," said MTS president Paul Olson. "It has always taken courage to care. We commend their parents, teachers and everyone else who's had a hand in shaping their hearts and characters."
At five years old, Jaron Johnston of Carman Elementary School is one of the youngest MTS Young Humanitarian Award winners ever. "Where do people with no houses sleep?" asked the kindergartener one cold February night. His mom's answer inspired him to collect "maybe even 100" blankets by the end of March for people who live in shelters and on the street. Jaron delivered those blankets to appreciative patrons of Siloam Mission and Devoted to You Street Ministries. He's now working on a second batch.
When Mara Pinlac learned Dane, one of her Grade 4 classmates, had leukemia, she knew compassion was not enough. She spent the next two years making jewelry to raise funds for Dane and others through the Children's Wish Foundation. Now a Grade 6 student at Oakenwald School in the Pembina Trails School Division, Mara speaks passionately about raising money for kids with cancer. She wants their lives to be filled with love and hope.
Shania Sveinson of Gimli High School doesn't draw attention to herself, but working with the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) she's been a huge influence in establishing Gimli as a fair-trade-certified town.
Shania has also worked on Make Wake for protecting the health of Lake Winnipeg; Eating Lower on the Food Chain; the Provincial Envirothon; the Gimli Film Festival and Matlock music festival.
Fort Richmond Collegiate's Free the Children Club may have only 12 members, but they have worked for a number of worthwhile causes this year. This self-directed student group has raised money and community consciousness about the need for clean drinking water here and abroad, collected over 1,000 food items for Winnipeg Harvest, donated more than 300 pairs of jeans to homeless youth, collected toys for disadvantaged children and held a community craft sale that raised $1,700.
They've organized jewelry and bake sales, painted murals and organized fund-and-consciousness-raising activities regularly throughout the entire school year -- all to benefit their school and community.
Five Teulon Collegiate Students have a vision and a passion to highlight issues affecting First Nations communities in Manitoba. They set out to visit as many schools as they could to be positive role models, raise awareness of water issues on reserves, provide cultural opportunities to non-aboriginal people -- and even provide a little entertainment.
Each award comes with a YHA medal, framed certificate and $1,000.