2017 Spirit Award Recipients, Service and Caring

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Recipient Service and Caring: Ashley Robitaille, St. Matthew Catholic High School

Ashley is a caring student from St. Matthew Catholic High School who shares her gifts and talents with others in her community. She has worked hard to raise funds for children who are ill. From the creation of her individual duct tape petal pens, which she sells for $4.00 each locally and in Walmart stores, she has donated over $5000 to CHEO. One hundred percent of the proceeds support others in need. Moreover, she has approached local businesses to provide the materials for her “petal pens” because she realizes that with donations, this improves the amount raised for the cause that she holds dear to her heart. She has volunteered in excess of one thousand community service hours not only for CHEO, but at various elementary schools teaching karate, and at her high school, assisting in the Developmental Education class. Participating in Youth Ottawa’s DILA Youth Program, Ashley organized and led a workshop for youth in the community to demonstrate how to make “petal pens”. She created a digital presentation and gave a hands-on workshop, while supplying the materials, for all those in attendance. She initiated this event by connecting with a community partner from CHEO.

Quote: “By selling my flower pens, I’m able to help children have a better experience while in hospital.”

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Recipient Service and Caring: Rayan Haidar, Woodroffe High School

Rayan has been a part of the Woodroffe High School community for over a year and a half. Arriving to Canada from Lebanon, she witnessed many injustices and drew from her experiences to make numerous positive contributions to her school community. Rayan volunteers to read to students who are English Language Learners (ELL’s). She also helps ELL’s with math during her spare period. When our first group of Syrian refugees arrived, Rayan, along with a friend, started an “English Help Club” that took place every Friday at lunch. Rayan has volunteered countless hours to work as a translator in support of the 45 newcomers Woodroffe has welcomed over the past year. She has worked as an Arabic translator for parent-teacher nights, school signage, ESL assemblies and award ceremonies. She has often taken the role of student ambassador, helping many new Arabic speaking students. On numerous occasions she has helped the administration team resolve minor conflicts among our Arabic-only speaking students. Rayan is a proclaimed feminist and strongly argues for women’s rights and equal treatment of all individuals. Rayan serves as a facilitator in her school’s Sources of Strength program. Overcoming lived experiences of tragedy stemming from Lebanon, Rayan continues to motivate others and move forward.

Quote: “Ultimately, I will stand in front of all who challenged me as a female and say: I’m a doctor now.”