Community & Current Events

Me to We Free the Children Youth award winner

Me to We Free the Children Youth award winner

Photo courtesy of Stephanie MacGregor Image by: Photo courtesy of Stephanie MacGregor Author: Canadian Living

Community & Current Events

Me to We Free the Children Youth award winner

After learning that the educational infrastructure in India wasn't good enough to meet the goals of the country's newly passed Right to Education Act, Stephanie MacGregor was inspired to act.

She cofounded the Right to Learn youth in action group at Sir Winston Churchill High School in Calgary, and has since brought the group to the University of Calgary, where she's now a student. This past school year, the two groups raised almost $50,000 for education in India, as well as for disaster relief around the world.

Stephanie's efforts have earned her the Me to We Free the Children - Youth award. Her prize is a trip with Me to We, which she has donated to Joe's Dream Scholarship Fund.

Canadian Living:  You're young, yet you're achieving great things. How important is it to share your voice?

Stephanie MacGregor:
I think people undervalue how important the youth voice is. Kids are a lot more positive about raising $10 or $1,000. Once you get a little older, you don't appreciate the little things young people do.

CL: Was there an 'Aha! moment' that reaffirmed your mission?

Stephanie: Last summer, I went to Kenya with Me to We. We got to meet with the babas (the dads) in the community. I was sitting with the mamas and babas.

At the end, one mama came up to me and touched my heart with her hand and gave me a big hug to let me know how much she appreciated everything our group was doing for their community. It was really incredible because, even though we didn't share a common language, we were able to express how we felt through actions.

CL: How does this award compare to those experiences?

Stephanie: My confidence level has shot up. I can speak in public; I can take charge. Growing up, I had a lot of self-confidence issues. It's incredible. I would have really appreciated something like the I Love Me Club. Good job, Mackenzie.

CL: So what's next for you?

Stephanie: A really big goal of mine for the next school year is to help Right to Learn raise $10,000, and to spread the word about Free the Children and Me to We.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find out who received an honourable mention for the Free the Children - Youth award page 2Honourable Mentions for Me to We's Free the Children - Youth award 
• Madeleine Clarkson, from New Westminster, B.C., organized a schoolwide dodgeball tournament and a community event called A Taste of Africa to raise money to build schools in Africa.

• Jasmine Wiens of Grunthal, Man., was a lead organizer of her high school's Walk for Water campaign, a 24-hour relay meant to represent the difficulties people in the developing world undergo to obtain water, which raised more than $18,000.

Without a doubt, this year's six winners of the annual Me to We Awards have earned their accolades. They have built a school in Sudan, supported education in India, volunteered in Kenya, launched an international self-esteem campaign, exposed human rights abuses, mentored HIV-AIDS orphans in Zambia and changed the lives of inner-city youth in Toronto.  
Read about the other five winners and their inspirational stories here:
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Community & Current Events

Me to We Free the Children Youth award winner