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Empowering Innovation: High school students collaborate for social impact

May 3, 2024

GUELPH, ON – On April 19, 2024, in a vibrant display of innovative thinking and enthusiastic entrepreneurship, students from Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute and John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute gathered at the Italian Canadian Club for a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) day dedicated to ICE: Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship.

The day’s focal point was a project aimed at supporting two local non-profit organizations: Up and Running Guelph and the Guelph Seed Library. With their mission statements echoing a commitment to community well-being and sustainability, these organizations provided the perfect canvas for the students to showcase their skills and passion.

The event was orchestrated by the Career Education Council (CEC) and empowered students to not only envision solutions but to actively engage in the process of bringing those solutions to fruition.

Up and Running Guelph aims to enhance mental health and well-being through inclusive nature-based walking and running programs. Understanding the profound impact of physical activity on mental health, the students embraced this cause wholeheartedly. Their task was to promote and support the programs offered by Up and Running Guelph, leveraging their innovative ideas and marketing expertise.  

The Guelph Seed Library is a division of the Guelph Tool Library, they presented a unique opportunity for students to engage with the concept of sustainability. The Seed Library, a sharing hub of seeds, embodies the principles of communal support and environmental stewardship. Students worked alongside facilitators to explore how they could contribute to this initiative and promote a culture of sustainable living within their community.

Divided into groups, students began brainstorming and refining their ideas before presenting them on stage. Each group brought a diverse set of skills to the table, ranging from the creation of miniature prototypes to social media and marketing campaigns. Under the guidance of facilitators and educators, students honed their presentations, ensuring they were not only engaging but also effective in conveying the mission and impact of the two chosen organizations.

As the day culminated with a series of presentations, the atmosphere was charged with energy and excitement, heightened by the anticipation of declaring two winning teams. The two selected teams obtained the honor of presenting a $500.00 donation to each organization.

ICE Day proved to be more than a standalone occasion; it sparked continual collaboration and societal change. It showcased the potency of youth-led innovation and the ability of young minds to transform their local community.

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