North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Jan 14
Sutherland law students spread kindness downtown

F3866A36-BC80-4218-B572-6ABDCA6996E3.jpegSutherland Secondary Law 12 students hand out sandwiches they made for residents of the Downtown Eastside in November.

by Jordan McCarthy, Sutherland Secondary Law 12 student, NVSD Student Leadership Council vice-president

It's incredibly easy to take things for granted, especially when we are young students being raised and supported by not only our families, but also our leaders and teachers in and outside of school. This is just reality.

At our age we are blinded even more due to our gullible nature and inability to come to a realization that a bad mark on a test or messed-up coffee order isn't half as bad in comparison to the living environment for those who are less fortunate.

It takes moments where we insert ourselves into the shoes of people who don't have a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs every night to really recognize there are people in this world who need our support, even if we are young and rely on the support of others as well.

This past November, my Law 12 class was sent out onto the streets of East Hastings to hand out lunches to community individuals who need and deserve it the most. In my experience, it wasn't just the food these individuals appreciated, it was our efforts to modestly go out of our way to give back to them that made the difference.

It appeared surprising to them when they saw us act with the motivation to simply help others. That was hard to digest. We young students may consider this a small gesture because we tend to turn a blind eye to the fact that we are the lucky ones in this world.

However, to those who live and breathe the same air as we do but aren't as privileged, a simple sandwich turned their whole day around – and that is what made this experience so powerful. I'm now inspired to give back even more.  

I have grown up in Vancouver my whole life. I used to take a lot of trips downtown to attend dance rehearsals in areas where large numbers of homeless individuals reside. I've walked these streets many times, innocently unaware of how difficult they have it.

It isn't unknown the Downtown Eastside is populated with the disenfranchised, however; this information to many people sadly goes in one ear and out the other. My Law teacher, Mr. Bruchesi, this year has made it a tradition to do this lunch handout after students visit the Provincial Court of British Columbia at 222 Main St.

Earlier in the day we met with Crown prosecutor Brendan McCabe, who shared with us his experience in this career. The experience of being at the law courts was inspirational enough as I dream to one day become a Crown prosecutor; however, Mr. McCabe was possibly one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, as well as genuine and kind-hearted.

The work Mr. McCabe has done for society should not go unnoticed as his incentive for bringing justice to many is solely derived from his passion for helping others.

E174AC42-A712-43F2-B67F-A6A76857E73F.jpegMr. Bruchesi's Law 12 class outside the Provincial Court of British Columbia in downtown Vancouver.

Working together as a class, making sandwiches and packing lunches to hand out, with all honesty, was enjoyable. This was was eye-opening experience that reminded me how easy it is to give back.

I would like to remind everyone that it's no hassle to come together as a team to make other people's day even better.

At the beginning of the trip it was extremely heartbreaking to have these one-on-one experiences with Downtown Eastside residents. As I wrote earlier, you never fully recognize their need for help until you look into their eyes directly and you can just see it on their faces.

This experience isn't nearly as impactful from just watching them gather as groups when you're in a heated car driving along the streets they call home, and I can admit that now. Turning frowns into smiles is much more meaningful when you watch the change up close.

My Law class was prepared to feel the heartbreak on this day, however; after experiencing it first-hand I don't think I could have ever fully prepared myself.

This experience has motivated me to volunteer and play my part even more, as a member of society who lives among the disenfranchised every day.

We are all human, and we all share the same rights in life no matter our financial or living situation.

People should always help each other, because at the end of the day the ones who expect it the least feel it the most.


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