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This article was published 29/4/2014 (1151 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Sappfyre Mcleod is always willing to lend a helping hand.
The Rotary Club of Winnipeg presented the 18-year-old Centennial resident and Technical Vocational High School graduate with the 2014 Dr. E. Leslie Pidgeon Award on April 16 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.
A member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg’s (BGCW) Freight House Club since age nine, Mcleod started volunteering with BGCW at age 11, working in such programs as Clean Machine, Leaders-in-Training and the CSI summer enrichment program. Mcleod is now a part-time employee at Freight House.
"It’s funny, because sometimes I don’t see it as volunteering, it’s more just helping out," Mcleod said. "If you see something that needs to be done, you do it. I like to help out a lot. Sometimes people tell me ‘Sappfyre, sit down, take a break, enjoy’ but I am enjoying. It’s fun to help out."
Mcleod said she’s pretty sure her impulse to help others comes from her parents, Marjorie White and Glen Mcleod. She said her dad is the kind of person who "if he knows you don’t have something to eat, he will literally drop off a meal at your door", while her mom has always made time for helping out in the community, even when she was juggling family and school.
"(They taught me) to get to know the people who surround you and make a difference in their lives and in turn, they will make a difference in yours," Mcleod said.
Mcleod is enrolled in the University of Winnipeg/Red River College business administration program, which starts in September. She also recently launched Bridges Building Bridges, a non-profit organization which aims to "further the education of disadvantaged Winnipeg students through scholarships and creative programming," according to its official website (bridgesbuildingbridges.org).
Bridges Building Bridges is holding a fundraiser on Sun., June 1 at the Victoria Inn (1808 Wellington Ave.) from 2 to 5 p.m.
"We have a program we run at Dufferin School called Guiding Lights," Mcleod said. "The goal of the program is to increase attendance while decreasing the dropout rate of inner-city youth by volunteering with students at Dufferin School, making sure they’re at school on time, getting them involved and giving them the same opportunities I had."
Mcleod said the key to keeping kids out of trouble is not telling them what they shouldn’t do, but simply presenting positive alternative options.
"Go to school, don’t do drugs, stay out of trouble. You don’t have to tell them that. Show them what is possible and they’ll do it," Mcleod said. "Kids emulate, that’s how they learn. They mimic what they see, so give them something positive to see. You’ll be surprised at the results."
Mcleod said she aims to raise $10,000 at the Bridges Building Bridges fundraiser. Tickets are $35. There will be a silent auction and door prizes. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org and go to the organization’s website.