“Never respect [people] merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.”  – Gamaliel Bailey

When we hear the word charity, which is a human-made term, it often evokes the limiting image of money.  Many individuals fail to explore the serene attribute contained in the word, charity; an attribute which is highly profound in the global human culture, as well as, the animal kingdom. An attribute which is communed and understood as: Love. The classification subjected in the term philanthropy, meaning “love for humanity”, stems from the Greek word “Phil”–validating love–to the highly-acknowledged English word: “anthropy”, which corresponds to humans. Philanthropists or more commonly youth-philanthropists are seeds that are configuring and regenerating into flowers which bloom inside the Botanical Gardens of Glenforest Secondary School! These blooming blossoms twinkle Glenforest’s halls with the content of their fairy dust and rose syrup, identifying themselves as YFGA (Youth for Global Action), as they consciously stock shelves of despair with harmonious love and care. The rosy illustration scripted in the initiatives produced by these student-philanthropists is encountered, as they initiated the YFGA five years ago because they were determined to make a difference. The students wrapped concrete organizations, such as: Free the Children, Creation of Hope by author Eric Walters, and HumanityFirst inside the mist of their excellence, gracious support and contribution. These vibrant philanthropists redefined the word charity by providing the element of love with donated money. They commemorated “Love Day, Free Hug day, Hershey’s Kisses Day” or Valentine’s Day by spreading their cupid wings further and unconditionally loving all of humanity. They justified the simplicity of their love by fundraising for the various charitable organizations. The pink, yellow, and red roses accompanied the hairs of many teenage girls, as the Valentine’s Day Rose’s fundraiser celebrated the love profound within the Glenforest student body! With the embodied principles of: strength, dedication, and of course philanthropy, YFGA presented many fundraising opportunities and raised over $15,000 in the past five years. Whether it’s treating your parents during parent-teacher interview nights with some baked goods or enjoying some sushi for lunch on a long school day, the YFGA team fundraised while pleasing the Glenforest student body with their chef-like qualities. YFGA also fundraises by the means of entertainment, formulating spiteful school spirit during the Glenforest body at the annual talent show or tears of happiness with the feelings of honour, pride and admiration for the fellow graduates, during commencement. These promising students also glorify International Development Day (IDD), in which various speakers from different organizations are invited to Glenforest, in order to spread awareness on global issues. Charity, a human-made term, is often limited to its own definition; however, it can be justified through the philanthropic approach. Charity is not a cheque with six figures, designer clothing, and buffet-style food. It does not seek to serve the purpose of boasting one’s identity and status in terms of respect. It is the essence beneath the sacred rose buds, symbolizing love. It is the captivating warmth surfacing from person to person. It is the ‘human’ practice looping inside the Botanical Gardens of Glenforest Secondary School.

By: Ruchika Dalawari

Credits: Ms. Meszaros and Apurva G