Photography by Linda Roy/Ireva Photography
Meet the Canadian Living 12th annual Me to We winner for the Youth in Action Award (13-17), Daniel Sequeira.
Name: Daniel Sequeira
Where he's from: Mississauga, Ont.
Award: Youth in Action (13-17)
When Daniel Sequeira isn't playing guitar at his local hospital's pediatric oncology ward to put a smile on the faces of sick kids, he's raising money to ensure that his fellow students don't go hungry. And he's only just turned 18. Five years ago, Daniel and his older brother, Nick, saw a kid about their age sitting outside the local grocery store asking for food. "We knew we had to do something, but we didn't know what," says Daniel. He and his brother began approaching local organizations and food banks to find out how they could help but were told they were too young—that is, until they approached the Peel District School Board. A social worker with the board, Jim Van Buskirk, helped them come up with the idea of giving grocery gift cards to families in need. By the following year, 2012, they had set up a registered charity called Two Kids for Change.
In all, they've raised $23,000 toward grocery gift cards. School board social workers distribute the cards to needy families so the recipients remain anonymous to the charity, but Daniel has received letters from families explaining that some of them have been through cancer, car accidents or addictions. Some parents are working two jobs trying to make ends meet. "Even though we never got to actually meet the families, we got to read their stories, and I think that's enough to keep Nick and me motivated," he says.
As he graduates high school and heads to Western University in London, Ont., this fall, he has gained some pretty profound perspective. "I've learned to appreciate life and everything we have. You see a lot of people who don't have as much as you, but they still value every moment, and it makes you want to do the same."
Meet our 2016 Me to We Award winners for more inspirational stories like Daniel's.