A group of Grade 12 students at Surrey's Panorama Ridge Secondary is hoping to make their final year a memorable one by leaving behind a legacy of goodwill and community-mindedness that will hopefully continue on once they've left.
Students Kiran Mann, Amneet Athwal and Livleen Pannu are all founders of the National Battle for Change Club, which they created two years ago with the intent of getting students involved with their community.
"Basically there are three of us who started this and we wanted to start a club because, at the time, our school was really new and there wasn't any clubs for students," said Mann. "So in Grade 10 we found a sponsor teacher and our focus was to raise awareness of community issues."
Since that time, Mann, Athwal and Pannu have seen their club grow to a point where it now boasts more than 50 members, all of whom are involved with the club's various initiatives, such as clothing drives, bottle drives and community awareness and volunteerism.
For the three friends' final year in school, the group wanted to make sure they did something that would have a lasting impression. So, this past fall, they started a series of workshops aimed at helping young girls prepare for high school.
"We decided to do the 'I Am' after school workshops for girls in Grades 5, 6 and 7 and help them transition to high school," explained Mann, noting the workshops drew nearly 40 girls over its seven week span.
Topics covered included building friendships, bullying, self-esteem, sports and fitness, and communication and advice was provided by various members of the National Battle for Change Club.
"All the volunteers were well-rounded students," said Mann. "We have more than 50 members now and try to rotate members each week to have new faces for the girls each week."
As for the future of the club, with all three founding member set to graduate later this year, Mann is looking to see if there could be others to continue what they've started.
"We do have a large club now, so we are looking at people who constantly come to meetings, younger members," she said. "Closer to the end of the year we're going to discuss with the members to see if they are interested in continuing the club."
Until then, the group will continue their efforts, organizing a bottle drive in March and a happiness campaign for women in April in partnership with the Surrey Women's Centre.
"This is just something that interested all of us and we took it," said Mann. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
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