Jonah Toth is looking to change the world.
In a way he says he has already. He’s in 12th grade at Campbell Collegiate in Regina, and is part of the school’s Me to We group – a group that pushes for both local and global initiatives.
“We call ourselves shameless idealists because we believe that better is always possible, whether it’s better in our local communities or better in our global communities.”
Over the past three years, Toth said the group at Campbell has raised over $65,000 for various causes. This year they raised about $14,000 for the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family campaign, and another $7,000 for health initiatives in India under Free the People’s Adopt a Village.
There are people who don’t think youth have the experience or drive to change the world, but Toth said they’re proving those people wrong.
This year the group was one of only six schools in the prairies to be given the 2016 Young Idealist Award for going above and beyond in creating positive change. The award will add another $4,000 to the total raised for the initiative in India.
The fundraising and initiatives have helped the community, but also the school itself.
“This initiative has really helped us come to together as a school community in support of a common cause, a cause that has not only improved the dynamic of our school community but is really helping change the lives of people half-way around the world,” said Toth.
Deidre Baird is one of the teacher advisors for the group. She said the “Me to We” initiatives have benefited from the demographic changes to the school.
“The school has become much more ‘we’ centred – more thinking about others before self … They’re actually bringing a new energy and a new awareness of our global community to Campbell.”
Baird said there are more students from all over the world, who come from places where there aren’t as many opportunities which lends itself to service for others.
“We’re learning that we can’t take anything for granted and we learned from each other.”