PHOTO CAPTION: Emmanuel Rogerson stands beside his Civics Class teacher Mr. Dawson after receiving a grant cheque for his winning presentation about Canadian Hearing Services.
Tenth grader Emmanuel Rogerson was working as a cashier at a McDonald’s when a Deaf customer approached the counter. Emmanuel is hearing and doesn’t know sign language, so completing the customer’s order was difficult as the two struggled to communicate.
The experience got Emmanuel thinking about the barriers to communication Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians face daily. “I always thought it would be difficult for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing to communicate and then I experienced it myself,” he says.
Shortly after, Emmanuel’s Civics Class at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario was given an assignment: find a local charity you’re passionate about and create a presentation that outlines why the organization needs funds. After researching and presenting, students then selected a winner from their peers to provide grant money to the most deserving organization.
Reflecting on his recent experience at work, Emmanuel chose Canadian Hearing Services (CHS). “I thought it would be neat to see what different charities are doing to help people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.”
Emmanuel’s presentation outlined CHS’s programs and services, how funding is typically allocated, and examples of client success stories to argue his point. He even appealed to his classmate’s interests by talking about headphone use and its role in hearing loss among young people.
The result? His classmates unanimously selected Emmanuel’s presentation as the winner with the grant funds from Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Canada (YPI) going to CHS.
“It really comes down to the student’s work – their research, their passionate, their presentation – and Emmanuel ended up winning because he did such a great job,” said Dan Amenta, a teacher at Sinclair Secondary and coordinator for the YPI Grant program.
The grant is an annual partnership between YPI Canada and the school. YPI Canada says it works to grow compassionate communities by exposing high school students to social issues, local charities, and philanthropy at a pivotal stage in their adolescence.
“It’s a great way to encourage grade tens to get connected with the local community,” Amenta adds.
CHS will receive an official grant notification in January for $1,250. From there, CHS will identify the department that has the greatest need for the gift.
“I love the notion of students getting interested in philanthropy at such a young age,” says Mikhael Bornstein, Director of Fundraising at CHS. “We are grateful to the school, YPI Canada, and most importantly Emmanuel, whose passionate presentation will ensure continued support for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians.”
For more information on how to donate to CHS, visit Ways to Give