Bella P.’s combined AP Capstone and SOUL Seeking project has helped her contribute meaningfully to a cause that she had originally hoped to support on the ground.
“A group of volunteers from my hometown of Cranbrook, B.C., goes on a mission trip to Grand Goâve to work at the Zanmitay Health Centre every year,” explains Bella. “I had been planning to go with this volunteer group for the past couple of years; however, I haven't been able to because of the political unrest in Haiti and the COVID-19 pandemic. I still wanted to help in any way possible, so I decided to dedicate my AP Capstone project towards this cause, and I’ve been researching Haiti and its healthcare system while also fundraising for the Haiti Arise Birthing Centre.”
Last summer, Bella started her fundraising initiative by talking to family and friends about the project. Over the course of the school year, she’s organized different fundraising events on campus, like a Halloween bake sale and an ice cream sale in the quad, as well as managing Renfrew's tuck shop, a snack shop that she opens for her housemates every night.
“My goal is to raise $10,000 for the Birthing Centre to help with the final steps of its construction and get it fully running. So far, we have raised about $7,200, and I'm hoping to use the rest of the school year to raise more money,” she explains. “I’ve had a lot of fun organizing the fundraising events and getting more people involved in the cause. I really appreciated the support that the Renfrew Grade 12s have showed me by getting involved and volunteering at every event. I think my biggest challenge has been successfully communicating with others about organizing the events, and having to change my plans in response to evolving COVID guidelines and safety regulations. I believe that overcoming these challenges has made me better at communicating my ideas to others and has also made me more flexible and able to adapt to unexpected circumstances.”
For Bella, the critical lesson she’s taken away from her fundraising and awareness efforts has been that even the smallest contribution counts and the smallest action can make a difference. She counts spreading awareness about Haiti’s ineffective healthcare system as one of the biggest achievements of her project. As part of this, she was invited to give a presentation to Shawnigan’s Model UN co-curricular group to speak about her research and fundraising efforts. “I think that it is really important that people know how fortunate we are in Canada, and how we take our opportunities for granted,” she says.
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