A Nanaimo student can add winning a national award and being featured in a popular magazine to her list of accomplishments.
Dover Bay Secondary School senior Kennedy Baker recently learned that she won a Me to We award in the community category for her volunteer work in Nanaimo.
The Me to We Awards, sponsored by Canadian Living and AOL/Huffington Post Impact Canada, shine the spotlight on Canadians making a difference in local communities and abroad.
Baker was nominated for her work with the 7-10 Club, where she volunteers two or three times a week, and for starting her own non-profit group last fall called STAND (Strength, Togetherness, Action, Non-Judgmental and Determination).
The group held a food drive in October that provided 60 families with bags of non-perishable goods, hosted a benefit concert in February that raised $1,600 and handed out food and hot beverages to the homeless and less fortunate in Maffeo Sutton Park in April, feeding more than 150 people.
Besides national recognition, winning the Me to We award means Baker will be featured in the October Canadian Living issue and she gets $5,000 to donate to her charity of choice, which is going to the 7-10 Club.
Upon learning she was a finalist for the award, Baker never thought she would win because she was up against older women from larger cities and the winner was determined through online voting.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “I’ve been recognized in Nanaimo, but to be recognized on a bigger scale is cool. I think it will contribute to what I’m trying to do with STAND, get the word out about things I care about like mental health and poverty issues.”
Gord Fuller, 7-10 Club chairman, said the money represents about half the organization’s monthly budget and is welcome at this time of year, when donations are typically down.
“It’s a considerable amount of money for our budget,” he said. “It’s definitely a huge help.”
Fuller said Baker, who is now on the club’s board of directors, is having a huge impact on the community through her volunteerism and she is doing it for the right reasons – because she can, not for what she might get out of it.
“She’s doing it because she truly cares,” he said. “And when you see that in someone so young, you know they’re going to go far. It gives one hope for the future.”
For more information on Baker and STAND, please go to http://kennedycbaker.wordpress.com.