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Local students hand out $4,000 worth of grants

By Amber McGuckin

Thursday, May 7, 2015 8:09:48 EDT PM

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The students from Beaver Brae Secondary School and St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s Youth in Philanthropy groups with this year’s grant receivers.

Kenora’s two Youth in Philanthropy groups handed out their yearly grants on Wednesday.

Both St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Beaver Brea Secondary School have philanthropy groups that give out money from the Kenora and Lake of the Woods Regional Community Foundation to organizations the students pick.

This year, St. Thomas Aquinas students gave $500 to Iggy’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Minto Parent Child Resource Centre, Women’s Place Kenora and the Cat Shelter. Beaver Brae’s students chose to give one $1,000 grant to Agape Table and another to the Kenora Fellowship Centre.

For Women’s Place Kenora, the money is going towards tree removal in the community garden. For the Cat Shelter, the money is going towards their spay and neuter assistance program.

Lexi Rea, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas Aquinas, visited the Cat Shelter and seeing it first-hand sealed the deal for her vote.

“When I visited the Cat Shelter, I saw how much they impacted people. Not only did they impact the cats’ lives, but they impact families.”

Morgan Saelens, a Grade 12 student at Beaver Brae, said she was deeply impacted when she went to the Kenora Fellowship Centre.

“We walked in and were like ‘the Fellowship Centre, they’re definitely getting one of our grants’,” she said. “Nobody is there begrudgingly. Everybody is there because they want to help and they want to make a difference.”

The students set their own guidelines for what organizations they want to donate to. Both groups worked together to make sure there wasn’t overlap donations, said Darlene MacGillivray, executive director of the community foundation.

“We’re sewing the seeds of the future,” MacGillivray said. “They’re going to be future volunteers of these organizations, of our organization and other organizations in general.”

Jan Richardson from the Agape Table is impressed with the support of the students.

“Young people are obviously the future of the community, so the fact that they are endorsing what we do, is really important,” said Richardson.

Both schools’ endowment funds that were set up in 2006 each have grown to $5,000.

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