May 18, 2016
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and sick children have moved the hearts of Manitoba’s young humanitarians this past year. Ten public school students will share the spotlight next Wednesday (7:45 p.m., May 25) at the Fairmont Winnipeg as the 19th annual MTS Young Humanitarian Awards honours students from four school divisions in Winnipeg and Brandon.
“The goodness and social conscience of these students who work so hard in caring for others will lift you like nothing you can imagine,” says Norm Gould, President of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
Caring comes naturally to Sage Karsin, a Grade 2 student from Linden Meadows School in Winnipeg. Sage was curious about a girl at school who was diagnosed with cancer. She peppered her parents with questions about how she could help her future friend. Then, on her own initiative, Sage set to work making loom bracelets and her home became a bracelet-making factory. By baking muffins and setting up a lemonade stand one summer, Sage raised $100 for Kenzie’s cure. As Kenzie became very ill, Sage wrote poems, drew pictures and helped make pma and True North’s Project 11.
She also spearheaded a #7OaksTalks Mental Health initiative, this April. But this Grade 12 student’s biggest achievement was running 115 K from her Kookum’s home in Oak Point to Winniosters for her friend. When her community held a huge Kenzie’s Kause fundraiser, Sage quietly donated her summer earnings in an unmarked envelope, knowing she was helping sick children like her friend. Kenzie passed with the love and support of the entire community.
Garden City Collegiate student Tracie Leost has devoted incredible energy to mental health initiatives like Youth Against Mental Illness Stig
peg to raise funds for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). By the time her four-day journey finished at the MMIW monument at The Forks, she had made friends on the road, raised awareness, gathered huge support, endured many blisters – even running for a time in moccasins – and surpassed her dream of raising $2,000.
Nicole Ternowesky is a Grade 11 student who’s acutely aware of the struggles faced by some people in Brandon. Her humble goal? To make infinity scarves for the Brandon Women’s Resource Centre as Christmas Gifts. Staff at Vincent Massey School donated some extra yarn and funds. Then Nicole wrote to a local craft store.
When they delivered 30 skeins of yarn directly to her school, Nicole was brought to tears. She worked for months knitting the scarves. A local hair salon donated gift certificates to add to the scarves. Nicole wrapped the project up right before Christmas, and the Centre received her donation with amazement and gratitude.
Never doubt the impact of seven young teen girls. Members of Gordon Bell’s Star Blanket Club have incredible hearts and energy to match. These Grade 7, 8 and 9 students decided they would create and distribute lovely traditional star blankets to the families of missing and murdered indigenous women. They worked with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to deliver the quilts to families sitting vigil in the hospital, and in Garden Hill First Nation and Kenora. Most importantly, the Club has raised awareness of the huge personal and societal loss caused by missing and murdered indigenous women.