ShareLife aims to get students to give back to their community. Photo courtesy of ShareLife

Sowing the seeds of action

  • March 13, 2016

In reaching out to Catholic schools and students, ShareLife’s aim goes far beyond raising money.

“Ultimately our goal is to sow those seeds of action,” said Tim Lee Loy, ShareLife’s schools and employees campaign co-ordinator. “We want to give young people actions. We give young people an opportunity to feel good about themselves through giving, giving to a Catholic charity.”

Lee Loy works with 525 Catholic schools from five different boards in the Archdiocese of Toronto. Each week he visits between one and 10 schools in different communities, each with their own unique needs and services.

“Every school is uniquely different in terms of what they want to hear about,” said Lee Loy.

That involves knowing “what each one of our agencies do in their local community... how they’re serving that local community.” Lee Loy may tell Catholic students from Toronto about the service to the deaf provided by Silent Voice, then go to Oshawa to talk about the how Rose of Durham Young Parents Support Services helps young mothers, only to head to Barrie the following day to highlight the impact of Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County.

The goal is to get the students active. Typically that means organizing fundraisers in their community. Many students, though, prefer serving on the frontlines, in the trenches with the various ShareLife agencies.

“One of the best roles of my job is to see these young people who are not afraid to serve,” Lee Loy said. “Occasionally I have the opportunity to be with students while they volunteer at one of our agencies. That’s one of the highlights of my job, to go out to an agency where young people are volunteering and to see them sort of break through their perception of what it is to serve and who they are serving.”

Michael Bethke, principal of St. Clare and St. Helen Catholic Schools in Toronto and long-time supporter of ShareLife, said since taking over the campaign Lee Loy has dramatically increased ShareLife’s ability to affect students on a mass scale.

“When Tim came along the schools campaign was still very focused on the employees, but now it is more focused on the schools” and the students, said Bethke.

“The effect on students’ involvement in social justice has dramatically increased. This is what we want to develop in our students before they leave.”

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