Honour roll student Sarah Eccleston began volunteering in the first grade.
Back then, the now 15-year-old ran lemonade and hot chocolate stands, donating the proceeds to the local humane society.
“Volunteering is really important to me and I feel like I can make a difference,” says Eccelston, one of the nominees up for Volunteer Calgary’s Leader of Tomorrow Award.
With National Volunteer Week approaching next month, Volunteer Calgary will celebrate the contributions of the city’s volunteers in hopes of promoting the value of volunteerism.
“The volunteers in our city are one of our biggest assets,” says Karen Franco, director of communications for Volunteer Calgary. “The volunteer spirit is one of the things that makes us unique.”
The spirit of volunteering has remained strong in Eccleston as she is still actively involved in helping out at her school, church and local rec centre.
“If people did not volunteer, a lot of things could not be done, so it is important to volunteer so that they can be,” Eccleston says.
Another nominee for the Leader of Tomorrow Award — which recognizes the achievements of some of the city’s younger volunteers in three different categories: Elementary, junior and senior high — is Dustin Allen, 14. He uses magic to mystify and entertain children at Between Friends, a charitable organization that provides recreational and social programs for people of all ages with disabilities.
“It is something that is fun to do and it entertains people,” Allen says.
Although he is not performing any death-defying tricks like his role model Criss Angel, Allen loves that his skill is bringing joy to others.
“Without it, those children would not have anything to do,” says Allen, who also volunteers for other organizations as well as for his church.
“We get some amazing young people who are doing some wonderful things,” says Franco.
Volunteers like Eccleston and Allen will be recognized for all their hard work at the 13th Annual Leadership Awards gala held at the Round-up Centre on April 16. Tickets are available at volunteercalgary.ab.ca.