Since March, the changes we have endured in our daily lives, at home and at school, are big. Pandemic fatigue is real, and that is why we aim to share inspiring stories from the countless caring and generous people in Pembina Trails.
Divya Sharma, a Grade 11 student at Fort Richmond Collegiate, is one such person.
The 16-year-old was moved to act back in March of this year, when classes were first suspended. She wanted to show solidarity for frontline workers and first responders. She collected donations and created more than 250 care packages that were delivered to truck drivers, hospital staff, and police officers.
“I wanted to make a real impact,” shares Divya.. “I think I got a lot out of this project, more than I gave….I went to Victoria General Hospital and the manger came out and you could just tell the smile on all the faces. It was just awesome to see how grateful they were."
Divya’s idea was inspired by the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which she had learned about in geography class. To highlight the need for hope, for solidarity, and for creative and coordinated action, the UN SDG Action Campaign launched a call for stories of solidarity in action this past summer. Divya was thrilled to receive the Solidarity Award in July. She was at home, on her computer, when she noticed the “Congratulations” email in her inbox.
“It was cool … I never thought I would be recognized,” she says. “I showed my Mom the letter. It was a personal letter, email from the UN. It was so awesome.”
She joins a group of 50 awardees from around the world who were recognized for their “heart-warming and impactful acts of humanity that improved the lives of others, inspired resilience, and lifted hopes in the ongoing health crisis.” Her award was featured on CTV News in August.
While Divya appreciates the recognition in her community, her heart is truly in the right place.
“Good things happen all the time,” she says. “If you put your heart into something, everything will fall into place. Whatever you want to make out of this situation you can – you can make this a time when you evolved as a person.”
Looking to expand her project on a national level, Divya was recently awarded a Rising Youth Grant. She plans to use the $5,000 to create 1,800 additional packages for frontline workers all over Canada. She remains, however, firmly rooted in Winnipeg and Pembina Trails.
“I am truly grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from Pembina Trails, since I’ve immigrated to Canada. Ryerson, Acadia and Fort Richmond Collegiate have all been a crucial part of my journey.”
Pembina Trails is proud to support you, Divya, and grateful for your inspiration to us all!