Sooke has a lot of amazing volunteers living in its midst. Some are older and gracious who offer both time and talent. Fewer are the younger ones, and those who do volunteer, give by the bucketful. One of the most recently recognized youth is Sooke’s own Sophie Adams, who received the Save-On -Foods Amazing Kids recognition on Thursday, November 7, along with a $1,000 scholarship.
When the Sooke News Mirror first learned about Adam’s then-upcoming award, our attempts to get in touch with Sophie were unsuccessful. Why? She was in Vancouver participating in a Provincial Youth for Change Symposium.
That was the first indicator that 15-year-old Adams was a young dynamo determined to make a difference.
And then the testimonials came flooding in.
Mitzi Dean, the executive director of Pacific Centre Family Services, spoke highly of Adam’s contributions.
“I wanted to let you know that she is volunteering in the PCFSA Sooke Stories Across the Ages program, for which the award is being made,” wrote Dean. “This has been running in the community for four years and is a wonderful example of collaboration between PCFSA, Ayre Manor, the School District and the Sooke Literacy program. The purpose is to develop positive relationships between youth and seniors in the community.”
The community praise for Adams’ work at Ayre Manor, a senior’s housing and care resident, was warm and plentiful.
“Sophie has been volunteering at Ayre Manor since February 2012 and can be found on any given Saturday interacting with the residents,” notes Sandy Pedneault, chair of the Sooke Elderly Citizens’ Housing Society, “We are very proud of Sophie.”
Ayre activity co-ordinators Dinah MacGillivary and Rose Fotheringham say the successful execution of many of the events for seniors at the depend heavily on volunteers. They describe Adams as a “ray of sunshine” who is “very upbeat and present.” Many student volunteers put in their required 30 hours and then move on. Adams will be hitting her two-year mark in a few short months. Besides assisting with the planned activities, they say Adams is readily available to take the residents for walks, and has been known to give a manicure or two.
When asked why she does this kind of volunteer work, Adams answers frankly and honestly.
“I just love it,” she said. “I love the people I work with, the coordinators are amazing, and the residents are so sweet.
“I’ve developed a good relationship with the residents with dementia,” reflects Adams. “They may not remember my name, but they light up when they see me.”
“One of the many reasons why Sophie was selected was her volunteer work here every weekend at Ayre Manor,” said MacGillivary.
As well Adams covers the other end of the spectrum and volunteered at Ahimsa, doing childminding while the adults stretched, flexed and relaxed.
She also covers the gamut athletically. Adams practices yoga herself, and she enjoys the centring aspect of yoga, its calm. Then there’s also her other, rugby-playing side.
“I like the tough, I like the mud, I like the dirt, and how rough it is,” she smiles. The EMCS rugby girl’s team came in second last year, though it could have been first.
“We’re going to make it first this year,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
Adams received recognition from the Sooke Youth Council, and was awarded their Youth Volunteer Award in May, 2013. Ebony Logins, community school coordinator for the EMCS Society, notes, “She was the only youth who spoke at the volunteer information from many local organizations… She’s motivational, health conscious, community minded and a great leader!”
Alissa Laurin, a community relations representative from CTV, said those selected for their Amazing Kids are exceptional individuals under the age of 18 whom have demonstrated excellence in a number of areas: athletics, academics, the arts, and have proven to be leaders in their communities.
Adam’s excellence extends beyond her volunteerism and reflects equally exemplary in her academics.
At the end of the last school year at Edward Milne community school (EMCS), Adams was awarded the Junior Girls’ Athlete of the Year. She was one of three recipients of the Miklenic Memorial Trophy award. This award is presented each year to the junior students who have illustrated the most outstanding citizenship during the year. Adams shared the award with EMCS students Kayla Curtis and Infinity Logan.
“Like most Amazing Kids selected, Sophie excels in many areas,” writes Laurin. “She is active in her school as a peer tutor and leadership student, she is a dedicated member of her rugby, soccer, basketball, and dance teams, and she volunteers her time in the community helping the older population. Save-on-Foods and CTV Vancouver Island are happy to present Sophie with the Save-on-Foods Amazing Kids Scholarship for November 7, 2013!”
As for who nominated Adams, well, that’s still a mystery.
“I still don’t know who nominated me, but I want to give them a big hug,” laughs Adams.
Nor does she really want to find out. There’s something special in receiving such an incredible anonymous gift.
In the very near future, she’s looking forward to her first paid gig as co-choreographer with the Sooke Harbour Players where she and Josie Dawson will be choreographing the junior cast. In the near distance is a post-secondary education, probably in the field of social sciences and in the distance is a lot of travelling.
“I want to go into disaster management, where I can both travel and help people,” she says. “I want to give a big thank you to the career centre at the school for setting up all the career opportunities,” reflects Adams, “my mom for supporting me, and my lisle sister, Mackenzi Adams, who is always getting dragged out to all these things.”
Other Amazing Kids from Sooke include Leah Kelley and Kelby Wittach. To view Save-on-Foods Amazing Kid features, to find out more information about the scholarship, or to nominate a kid you know, visit http://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/more/save-on-foods-amazing-kids.