“I’m just one kid. How can I make a difference in this world?”
That question, and the ensuing video explaining just how to effect positive change, won a group of Hugh Boyd secondary students first place in a recent Rotary Club competition for its youth members.
The two-minute-36-second long clip was the first Canadian entry to earn top honours in the Rotary International Interact Video competition.
It features students from the school club showing how they contributed to a number of charitable and community causes during the first few months of the school year.
In one of the early examples in the slickly produced video, a student explains how one can of food can make a difference as members of the Interact Club gathered a total of 850 while out trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and then donated them to the local food bank.
Another student asked the question, how can a shirt make a difference?
In this case, the shirt was an Interact Rotary shirt that will be worn by a group of club members making the trek this July to the Refilwe orphanage in South Africa where they will donate their time to a number of projects, including mending a leaky roof on one of the buildings.
Sponsor teacher Doug Park, who runs the school’s video program, said he was extremely proud of his students, given the international scope of the Rotary competition.
“It’s amazing. There were 11 countries on five continents contributing entries,” Park said. “And the key is that this was all from youth, trying to highlight all the great things that their clubs are doing.
“And for us to win, first off it’s a huge acknowledgement for the talent and skills our video (program) kids have. But more importantly, I feel, it’s the ability to show the world what great kids we have. These are the things they are doing. These are the things they believe in, locally and globally.”
Park added that some of the reaction from senior Rotarians after viewing the video was quite profound.
“They were almost brought to tears watching this, because they now have faith in the next generation. They understand what youth are capable of doing.”
For their efforts, the group will receive a certificate and plaque. Plus, the video will be seen by Rotary clubs across the globe.
As for the message the video will convey to a worldwide audience, Grade 12 student and co-president of the school’s Interact Club, Shaane Nathu, said it will resonate on many levels.
“It will get across to other Interact clubs how we do things here,” said Nathu, who visited the South African orphanage two years ago. “And generally, it’s not about the recognition we get, I think it’s more about communicating the message of the power of numbers, and being able to actually show other people what’s going on around the world, how we can help, and even though we are students, we can help make a difference.”
Mellissa Chao, a Grade 10 student who appeared in the video and will be one of the students heading to South Africa this summer, said she was looking forward to the trip.
“It’s a great opportunity for us because we can grow as people and will be able to show everyone what our generation can do to provide for the next.”
View the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhMh8MXaWDQ.