For 10 years now, the Granite Ridge Education Centre (part of which it was Sharbot Lake High School) has been participating in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).
“We’ve been doing this since 2007 and had 10 different charities benefit,” said Randy McVety, the teacher who oversees the project at GREC. “This year marks $50,000 and across Canada, 20,000 students have participated and more than $500,000 has been presented to charities.”
The process is rather straightforward. Interested Grade 10 students research a local charity, put together a presentation on it and a group of judges from the school decide who gets the money based on those presentations.
Four charities were represented by students this year including Kingston 4 Paws, Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, Big Brothers and Big Sisters Kingston and Addiction and Mental Health Services Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
Addiction and Mental Health Services will receive $5,000, thanks to the winning presentation of their advocates Mairina Jackson and Annika Putnam.
“They service a wide area and offer lots of services,” said Putnam.
“We were both interested in what they do,” said Jackson.
This year, three of the four charities focus on mental health (and it could be argued that so does Big Brothers/Big Sisters) and that fact wasn’t lost on Putnam and Jackson.
“Young people are becoming more aware of how mental health is going to impact just about everything you do,” said Putnam.