BY HARNOOR GILL
Peace Welcome Club
ON behalf of the Peace Welcome Club (PWC) I would like to shout out a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout our journey of promoting peace locally and globally.
When I came to Canada back in January of 2002 with my parents, I left my relatives, friends, and loved ones behind. I knew that life was going to become challenging in this new environment especially with the language barrier. Being born in Hong Kong my parents decided to put me in pre-school there before we moved to our new country. I learned Cantonese more easily than English. Being in a minority group like mine wasn’t easy for me as I was one of the few kids who was of Indian descent. At the same time I had a lot of fun talking with these children and it was a great experience for me as well.
Once we moved to Canada I started school in junior kindergarten at Cherry Tree Public School in Brampton. As I grew, I started looking for youth-led projects in my community but without much success. Though, there were adult-led initiatives for youth but not by youth for youth. It did not take me long to come up with an idea that incorporates peace. So I founded the Peace Welcome Club (PWC) that not only welcomed young children new to Canada but also those who were looking for volunteer opportunities and also helped to support them through the Facebook page of PWC.
We achieved a lot of success in a short span of time. With the help of our team members we’ve accomplished so much without any external financial support. This includes donating more than 10, 000 books to youth to help in their literacy, more than 2,500 jeans to India and elsewhere, organizing shoreline cleanups, donating food to local food banks and raising awareness in going zero waste.
In February 2014, the PWC will celebrate its third years of existence. To celebrate peace, we would like to recognize a youth who makes his / her community a better place to live, work and play. In return we want to nominate a ‘Peace Builder of the Year.’
Do you know someone in your community who is making a difference: someone who embodies the Peace Welcome Club spirit of helping others? His / her work initiative should be service-oriented and help improve or enhance the quality of life for people in need around them.
Nominations are open to anyone between the ages of 8 and 18. The selection of the Peace Builder of the Year is based on how strong the nominee’s work measures up in the following areas: their initiative itself such as money raised, number of those benefitting from action, press coverage of the results, the depth of initiative, creativity behind the effort itself as well as challenges that are overcome in order to perform the work in a successful manner.
The successful candidates that get picked will be profiled in the newspaper for their efforts. If interested, email at PeaceWelcomeClub@gmail.com.
In conclusion, I am very proud of my project, Peace Welcome Club and I truly believe that I made the right decision in reaching out to help others. I also feel a strong sense of connection to my community while reaching out to do this. I leave the readers with one word this holiday season – VOLUNTEER. We can make the world a better place and my hope and prayer is that through our seemingly small actions of peace right here we can. The great Mother Teresa of Calcutta who helped thousands of all faiths and backgrounds used to say God doesn’t expect us to succeed but to try!
For updates on this exciting initiative as well as other volunteer initiatives, please like us on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/PeaceWelcomeClub