This article is part of a new series we’re introducing to our blog. If you’re familiar with MCYU, then you know that our guiding principal is QUESTION – DISCOVER – CREATE. Our goal is to encourage and support youth to QUESTION the world around them, DISCOVER their potential and CREATE opportunities for a brighter world.

We love hearing stories about youth who are doing just that! And we want to hear more of those stories! Look around. How are youth engaging in your community? Let us know what’s happening –  we’d love to recognize the contributions and inspire others. 

This brings us to Aarushi Bose. Aarushi is 14 years old and just about to graduate grade 8.  When I spoke with Aarushi, she struck me as bright, kind and thoughtful. It came to our attention that Aaurishi had been campaigning to raise money for SickKids and the Halton Womens Centre. I wanted to talk to Aarushi to learn about where that motivation came fromhow she did it, the challenges she faced and some of the experiences she hopes to have as she get older. I was inspired by Aaurshi’s dedication to helping others, not just for a 14 year old but for any age.

Aarushi, can you tell me about where your desire to help others came from? In December of 2014 (Aarushi would have been 9 years old) I went to India. My Grandfather started an organization there in a village called Nishta to help women who have been abused. Once I spent time hearing their stories and their cry for help on my own lap, I gave them a message that when I am a little older, I will inherit my grandfather’s organization, and expand and improve it to the best of my ability. However, I am not at the stage where I am old enough yet, so I thought why not get some experience in advance in my own community. So, I am not only giving back to my own community, but I am also enhancing myself at the same time.

So, you decided you wanted to do something to give back to your community. What were the next steps? How did you decide what you would do? I decided to start by raising funds for SickKids. I didn’t just pick the hospital of SickKids out of a hat, I was actually already receiving treatment from this hospital, and am presently still receiving treatment. In November of 2016 I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable kidney disease called C3 Glomeriular Nephritis, and thankfully I live in GTA because SickKids and a hospital in Germany are the only two hospitals who treat this specific sickness. I thought it was important to repay the hospital of SickKids after all the wonderful services they have provided for my family and I.

After raising money for SickKids, I decided to continue my campaigning by raising funds for an organization called the Halton Women’s Place, which is a shelter and crises services for women with dependent children who have been abused. I have always felt a connection with the equality of women’s rights, and would even like to call myself a feminist. Also, the Nishta village I visited in India inspired me to take a stand for women since I learned a lot about their problems.

Once you decided you wanted to raise money for SickKids and Halton’s Women Place, what did it take to turn your idea into a reality? When I decided that I wanted to do campaigns, I had to contact the organization to ask for help on how to start off, and for their permission to campaign for their organization. I had to fill out some sort of application to get started and to inform them of what I was going to do to make my fundraiser a success. Then I used my creativity and have some fun!

Did you have a goal? For the two campaigns that I completed I had a goal for both. For my SickKids campaign I wanted to raise $500, and for the Halton Women’s Place campaign my goal was to raise $100. For my SickKids campaign I raised $508, so I surpassed my goal, and for the Halton Women’s Place I raised around $70. So, I didn’t quite reach my goal sadly, but came pretty close. Keeping determination and happiness in mind of the final goal was key to striving and achieving my goal successfully.

Can you tell us about what it felt like at the end of the campaign? What was the reaction from those you were helping? How did this experience make you feel? For both myself and the people I helped, the reaction was undoubtedly a reaction that money simply cannot buy. See, I believe that service towards others in need is the goal to life, so this principal is how I like to base my life. There is only a certain type of happiness that really fulfills you for a lifetime, and this is that type of happiness.

Did you learn any new skills? Conquer any fears? Who helped you along the way? I learned the skill of communication, which is a fear that I definitely overcame a little bit because I had to reach out to complete strangers to start up these campaigns. Of coarse, all these fears started to circulate in my head, but keeping the end goal in mind, and the positive impact it had on others, I tried my best to take a deep breathe and give it a try! Throughout this process, I definitely had a lot of support behind me cheering me on the whole way. First of all, my first campaign was helped by my friend, and for both campaigns, my parents and grandmother helped buy my supplies, drive me around and give some well thought out advice. However, I will not forget my younger brother who really cheered me on and kept me positive the whole time!

Do you plan on doing something like this again? The learning experience that I took from the SickKids campaign opened a new side to myself that I knew I wanted to further develop. It lead to my decision to do a campaign every summer with different organizations.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced campaigning to raise money for these causes? Challenges come at every aspect of life, even when you are trying to do good in your community. Some challenges that I encountered with campaigning was relaxation. As I was doing these fundraisers during my summer break, and was volunteering in a summer camp as well I was pretty busy. Quite a bit of my friends were just sitting around at home really relaxing, and of coarse jealousy struck me a bit. Giving myself the satisfaction and the determination to keep going was difficult, but satisfying, as I knew I was using my summer to the best of it’s use and getting a good deed out of it as well. Also, I was quite timid and afraid that the donors would think I was too immature and young to be dealing with their funds, and the organizations would not trust me with representing them. However, I have realized that young and old can make the same impact.

What is the impact running these campaign has had on you (your day to day life, future goals, etc.)? The happiness that I sucked out of this experience was one aspect of how this adventure impacted me. Even more exciting though, it gave me more and more reasons to why my dream career would be something that I would be truly passionate about. My dream career has always been in the medical field, especially in the neurological medical field. Since, I love the satisfaction of helping those in need, campaigning has shown my love of service even more clearly.

What would your advice be for kids who want to do something for their community but don’t know where to start or think they’re too young to make any difference?  First of all, no kid should ever think they are too young to ever make a positive difference on this earth. Just coming up with the idea to do something out of your own individual bubble, and help the community, already demonstrates how much more mature and older you are mentally for your own age. Don’t let your height, age, nationality etc. get in your way to exploring your full potential on this earth. Remember, it is even more important for the younger generation to start taking a step in their communities since we are the future. Start by just learning about issues outside of your own little bubble at home and at school, and learn about what others are facing all around the world. Trust me, you will be very surprised, we are very lucky to be able to call Canada our home (but that doesn’t mean it is perfect). Then start to reach out and turn your knowledge into action to start giving a helping hand.

What does being an engaged citizen mean to you? To me an engaged citizen educates themselves on issues and events happening in their community, and takes action in that area. When people are in need of aid, they lend a helping hand, and when there are events, they try and take part in them as much as possible. So, they are not only taking what the community/country has to offer them, but they are also giving back to it as well.

What kind of person do you strive to be? I strive to be a person who does not solely base their life off of nurturing myself, but also giving back to others. I want to be someone who makes sure that they use every opportunity in life and does not feel like they have wasted a single moment. I want to live my life to the fullest, and leave the most inspirational and positive impact for the generations to come!

What are some experiences you look forward to having as you get older? Some experiences I look forward to having as I get older and more mature is traveling. I have so many countries on my bucket list that seem so intriguing and fascinating to explore, and I want to try and experience as much as possible. The city I most want to visit though is Paris, France. I have wanted to go visit this city since I was 3 years old. Just every aspect of the city sounds so magical and beautiful, and even though most people say that my expectations are set too high for the city and I will be disappointed when I go to visit this city, there is still a feeling in that atmosphere that I know will not ever disappoint me!

What do you do for fun? For fun, sports and athletics is definitely a go to activity. Especially soccer, basketball, and taekwondo. Cooking and baking puts me in a relaxed and happy mood. Of coarse, I love to go out with my good friends because what’s better than spending a great time with the people you love to spend time with?

Can you finish these sentences:

Something I am curious about learning more about is… global issues that are not as publicly talked about and are hidden in the shadows.

Someone I would love to meet (from past or present) is…Michelle Obama.

I think young people are capable of …anything they put their minds to accomplishing.

I wish grown ups would… not put children’s ages before their capabilities.

Thank you so much Aarushi for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best with your next campaign and hope you make it to Paris sometime soon!