Stefania Stirban, a grade 12 student at Handsworth Secondary, wanted to make a difference in the lives of homeless youth in Vancouver by spearheading a fundraiser for Project Backpack.
Project Backpack, a subsidiary of H.E.L.P for Youth Canada, is a community-service campaign that raises awareness and supplies new backpacks filled with everyday necessities to youth shelters for distribution to vulnerable youth.
With guidance from Teacher Sofia Frith, who sponsored the project, and help from classmates Sophia Afshar (grade 12) and Ava Pourandalibi (grade 11) who sorted the donated items and filled the backpacks, Stefania was able to reach and surpass her goal of filling 25 backpacks. In the end, they filled 41!
Posters and a short but powerful video inspired the Handsworth community to donate the needed items, including toiletries, hats, scarves, mitts, granola bars, water bottles and juice boxes. The video’s main message explained that homelessness isn’t a choice for these youth, as most have very difficult lives with no other options but to live on the streets.
Teacher Sofia Frith enthusiastically shared, “I will certainly sponsor this fundraising initiative next year, with the help of senior Handsworth students.”