Today, Santropol Roulant is $5,000 richer, thanks to a donation from Selwyn House School students and Youth and Philanthropy Initiative, a project that connects high school students to social organizations in their community.
Selwyn House students began taking part in YPI in 2008, under the direction of Courtney Prieur, Director of Experiential Education at Selwyn House. Each year, the project begins with a visit from Selwyn House Old Boy John Hallward ’78, an expert in philanthropy. John explains to Grade 10 students how to research charitable organizations to determine which achieves the most with the money it receives in donations.
All Grade 10 students participated this year, making up 16 teams in all, representing 16 different charities. A semifinal competition narrowed the field to three teams for the final.
The teams visited their selected charities and interviewed staff, volunteers and clients. They also went online to check out the financial statistics of the organizations.
The culmination of the exercise is to present their case—in French—before a panel of judges. This judging took place at the school on January 18.
Three teams in the finals represented the following local charities: Friendship Circle, Depot Community Food Centre and Santropol Roulant. The judges chose the Santropol Roulant project to receive the $5,000 cheque, donated by the YPI organization.
Santropol Roulant describes itself as “an intergenerational community food hub.” In fact, it is more than that. The organization creates a link between young Montrealers and seniors who may suffer from a loss of autonomy. Their staff and volunteers not only prepare and deliver food, but also organize events and workshops for older people in order to strengthen their sense of community.
John Hallward has studied the world’s wealthiest societies and found that—psychologically speaking—they are among the poorest people on earth. His findings were explored in his 2009 book The Happiness Equation: the Human Nature of Happy People. John and his family’s Hallmount Foundation have established GIV3, an initiative to promote the personal and community benefits of philanthropy. His first book, Gimme! The Human Nature of Successful Marketing, published in 2007, explored some of these themes. John has spoken to Selwyn House students on more than one occasion on the importance of getting involved in charitable activities.