While a high school student at Appleby College, Lauren Power was searching to find an outlet that work for her – a self-proclaimed ‘busy child.’ Her search ended when she learned that her school offered the Award as an extra-curricular program. And just like that, Lauren fell in love with the positive impact it had on her.
“I love the way it promotes healthy habits and participation in activities in various categories of activity but in a way where its ‘at your own pace,'” she says.
Once Lauren graduated from Appleby, she continued her Award journey by stepping up and running the Award Leader Program at Western University to mentor participants to complete their Award. It was when the COVID – 19 pandemic hit that she transitioned into becoming a Virtual Award Leader thus creating the Virtual Award Center at her university. Lauren currently oversees 84 participants who are completing their Award at Western.
“I also stand to influence current participants and continuing to be involved in the various pillars of the Award not only provides me with things to do on a day-to-day but also allows me to inspire other participants with the activities I am doing.”
Dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, Lauren noticed a reoccurring theme while walking around the town of London – the amount of homelessness. As she passed the same individuals every week, she knew something had to be done to improve the quality of these lives. Her original plan to host a fundraiser with her family and friends came to a halt once she realized that through the Duke of Ed Club at Western, she could garner more support from a financial standpoint as well as student involvement.
The plan was to put care packages together to hand-deliver to the individuals that Lauren passes by day-to-day. The first step toward supporting this homeless community in London was applying for the Passion to Purpose community service grant. Once received, she was able to use the funding to cover many of the necessary items to support her initiative.
Through networking, Lauren got in contact with Appleby College alumni, Mark Hubner and Thomas Longo who made generous donations to her project. Baffin, who donated $10,000 and 41 pairs of boots and Longo, a 10% discount and free Grocery Gateway delivery to London. Longo also connected Lauren with Mission Services of London, an organization that facilitates Men’s Mission and Rothholme Family Services to better understand what they need and the best items to donate. This not only helped Lauren’s team logistically execute her initiative but as well as helped the team purchase an unimaginable amount of stuff! Over several weeks and a significant number of hours, the team was able to organize all purchase orders and coordinate with the shelters for item pickup.
Finding new ways to help people is one thing that Lauren has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think finding ways to adapt the activities I do in my day-to-day life has been key. Although not all the things I love to do are possible with the current-day restrictions, just understanding my need for diversified interests and the key role that plays in my life has made it manageable.”
We can’t wait to see what Lauren does to help her community out next!Read More Stories