Orillia Secondary School's Students for Change group is on a mission to make a difference in the local community.
Jacqueline Winchester and Claire Kudar, two Grade 12 students, co-run the group with Megan Clark. The club meets every Wednesday to organize a monthly initiative that students can get involved in to earn volunteer hours.
“It can be a good experience for students to figure out what they like to do within the community and to help others,” Winchester said.
In September, the group of 35 students volunteered and raised money for the Orillia Terry Fox Run. In October, club members held a bake sale and raised $372 for The Sharing Place; they also spent Halloween night going house to house asking for non-perishable food items.
For November, the club is organizing a food drive for The Sharing Place and a garbage cleanup around the school.
Both Winchester and Kudar have been involved with the club for the entirety of their high school career.
“It’s been such a great opportunity,” Winchester said. “It provides you with a lot of opportunities to help people that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get without joining the club.”
Kudar says the opportunity to help the community and make connections with her fellow students has been a blessing.
“Everybody helps out and does their part,” she said. “It’s been a really good thing to be involved in.”
Both Kudar and Winchester say helping others has given them a rewarding feeling.
“Giving back to the community has been really nice,” Kudar said.
“I really like seeing everyone get involved and more comfortable with sharing their ideas during the meetings,” Winchester added.
Winchester and Kudar say being a part of the group has given them confidence and leadership skills.
“I hope that other people will continue this club to give others this opportunity,” Winchester said.
Kudar is hopeful that the club will continue to grow long after she has graduated.
“I hope that we can grow and eventually do bigger things,” she said.
Going forward, Winchester plans on applying the skills she has learned from being in the group to her everyday life.
“I’ve been able to get out of my comfort zone by leading this group,” she said. “Because I’ve been able to grow, I think I’ll definitely be able to apply that after high school to organize other initiatives in communities."
Being involved and helping other people through the group has helped Kudar develop as a person, which will also help her in the next chapter of her life, she says.
“Being a part of this group showed me how getting involved and helping other people can develop me as a person,” she said. “Doing things in the community has given me a lot of opportunities and I’ll be continuing to do that throughout my life.”
To follow Orillia Secondary School’s Students for Change group and to keep in touch with their latest initiatives, click here.