What made you decide to do this?
As we are all aware, those employed as frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic face immense amounts of stress and pressure on a regular basis. Hearing stories in the news about the toll that the pandemic has taken on the mental health of these individuals has also become quite common recently. This project was started as a way to appreciate the hard-work and dedication that frontline healthcare workers have shown. It was also intended to help them take care of their own mental and physical health during a time when they’re too busy taking care of others and often neglect their own well-being. This, combined with my interest in community service and volunteerism really gave me the motivation to put my time and energy into making such a project possible. Although the scale of what I took on seemed daunting, I knew that I had the ability to lead this initiative and be disciplined enough to complete everything alongside my other commitments.
The project itself required a lot of time spent on securing funding, planning the different stages, and carrying out the tasks required to create the boxes. This service initiative was approved and funded with a $2000 micro grant from the Passion to Purpose Program through the Duke of Edinburg foundation of Canada and the Canada Service Corps. The goal was to create 100 appreciation packages filled with self-care items which anyone could use, for the staff of the Urgent Care Center at Victoria General Hospital.
How did you get started?
When I had gotten an idea of what I wanted to do, I started to put together a plan on how I was going to achieve this service project in the next few months. I used the days off during our winter break to put together a team to help me complete the tasks and create the proposal to submit for the $2000 grant funding. My team and I ensured that the proposal for the grant was as detailed as possible, not only to be considered a competitive application, but to help ease the workload in the long-term as well. It was the planning that we did early on which really helped the whole process work out smoothly and set us up for success in the upcoming months.
How did the project evolve throughout the duration?
After getting approved for funding, the project progressed quite well with not much delays. Although the project timeline did change a bit, we were able to complete everything without trouble and delivered the appreciation packages within a good time frame. The few minor inconveniences we had were sorted out efficiently and overall there was nothing we couldn’t handle. We ended up spending 4 months and more than 50 volunteer hours to make this idea a reality.
Who was involved in the success of this project?
I would definitely like to give credit where it is due, as this project would not have been possible without the continued help and support of the many different people involved. First and foremost would be the funding and guidance by my project mentor Jeevana Rajkumar from the Passion to Purpose Project at the Duke of Edinburg Program Canada. My teammates from my grade 11 class also played an essential part in helping finish the tasks by the deadlines and make the project a reality. These team members included Ameen H., Angel O., Marvelous A., Jessica P., Alexander C., and Gabriel V. My various teachers and administrators from St. Maurice High School also were crucial when we needed support in terms of space to store and put together the packages, advice on various aspects, sponsorships from businesses, and funding for the thank-you cards. These advisors included school principal Mr. Doiron, vice-principal Mr. Sagriotis, directors of campus ministry Mr. Bailey-Robertson and Ms. Savard, as well as teachers Mrs. Sosnowski and Mrs. Stajkowski. We were also given the opportunity to purchase items for our packages at significantly reduced costs from the Ellice and Wall Red River Co-op; big thanks to the owner Mandeep Deol and her daughter Tavleen. Finally, the project really wouldn’t have been possible without the administrators at Victoria General Hospital who helped coordinate the drop-off and answer any questions we had. These people were the Chief Administrative Officer Brenda Catchpole and Director of Urgent Care Brent Becker. Thank you to all those who were involved in helping make this community service project a success.