Photography by Janis Nicolay Image by: Photography by Janis Nicolay
Where she's from: Vancouver
Award: Free the Children Youth Award
Contribution: Do Good is a student-led committee that Nikayla Allen helped found at Brooksbank Elementary in North Vancouver. Nikayla and her fellow Do Good members help the homeless, raise funds for education in Africa, spearhead antibullying campaigns, advocate for saving the environment and more.
When was the first time you saw an issue and thought, I need to do something about this?
When I was really little, I would sometimes go downtown with my family for dinner. I realized there were people sleeping on the streets, eating out of garbage cans and begging for money, and I would ask my mom, "Why are people doing this?" I was confused and wondered, Why do I get tucked into bed and why do I get to have nice big meals and go out for dinners? When I first started Do Good, I learned how people were bullied, and I wanted to make a change.
Was there a moment when you realized, Yes, this is what I should be doing?
I think that 100 percent of the time, actually. My community and my school—we're a huge family. Everyone knows each other, and I get to work with them through Do Good every day. I do it because I genuinely love it.
What trait or skill has helped you with your volunteer work?
I talk a lot. I have good communication skills, which is really helpful. For example, the year before last, I got to speak in my high school district. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but I had the courage to do it.
What are your interests outside of volunteering?
I enjoy lots of sports. I play soccer, I like doing track and field and basketball and volleyball. Aside from that, I like performing arts. I love singing—I sing in the shower every day and I sing around the house. I enjoy playing guitar. I enjoy drawing and dancing. I doeverything, probably. Being outgoing definitely helps with volunteer work.
Describe the feeling when you hit one of your volunteering goals.
I'm proud I'm making a positive difference, so that's probably the feeling I get. I'm always really happy for what I'm doing, and I'm always very proud of my friends and my teachers for helping the community and the school and the world to be a better place.
Meet our 2015 Me to We Award winners for more inspirational pieces like Nikayla's, check out our 2015 Me to We Awards.
This story was originally part of "Everyday Heroes" in the October 2015 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!