Making an Impact for a Social Cause

Tihmily Li, Communications Officer
Here at Greenwood, we strive to develop and nurture the ‘whole’ student with outreach programming that encourages them to venture further beyond academics. Starting in Grade 7, students are actively involved in our Service Learning programming which aims to help them become socially conscious citizens of the world. In Grade 9, all students participate in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) which serves as a capstone for their previous years of Service Learning in Grades 7 and 8.  

YPI is an initiative that challenges highschool students to advocate for non-profit organizations in their communities. Each participating school decides upon the winning presentation and proposal. Each year, YPI offers hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations picked by each participating school. The ultimate goal is to empower youth in determining where the grant money would be best put to use in their own communities. 

Starting in October, Grade 9 students are introduced to YPI. The students formed groups and started their research into the social cause they wanted to support in the local community. Finalists for the YPI award were selected after rounds of presentations and refinement in their Adviser sessions. On May 17, all finalists presented to a panel of judges made up of Greenwood staff and students. After careful deliberation, the judges chose Char ‘25, Greer ‘25 and Kylie ‘25 as the winning team. For their efforts and advocacy, the students won a $5,000 YPI grant for the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (TRCC).

The three students found the year-long process rewarding and educational. “The opportunity to connect with issues affecting Toronto and our community was a highlight of the YPI experience,” says Char. At the beginning, the group had considered choosing an organzation that supported mental health but had to adjust after finding few options that were based in the Greater Toronto Area. They  pivoted their research to the TRCC because “they are heavily Toronto-focused with six shelters throughout the city,” says Greer. Kylie also added, “The TRCC also has a strong focus on accounting for diversity and accommodating for cultural differences.” The intersectional support provided by TRCC is a big factor in why the team chose the organization for their YPI project. 

It was definitely eye-opening and, at times, a struggle for the group to read about the statistics relating to sexual assault. “It was really disturbing to learn,” says Greer. Hearing and reading people’s personal stories of rape and sexual assault helped to spur them into preparing the best case for the YPI competition. 

The three will continue their advocacy in the future with more education and awareness. “We definitely can collaborate with the DEI Committee to incorporate more about this topic throughout the year,” says Char about further awareness here at Greenwood. They will also spread awareness on their personal social media to reach a wider network beyond the school.

The TRCC is overwhelmed to learn that they will receive the YPI grant thanks to Char, Greer and Kylie’s efforts. Unfortunately, the Greenwood group won’t be able to present the cheque personally to the organization but they hope they can work with the TRCC at some point in the future.
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