Young philanthropists Mia Kennedy

Young philanthropists Mia Kennedy

Victoria’s vulnerable children benefit from young Oak Bay philanthropists

The Mary Manning Centre, a child abuse prevention and counseling society get $5,000 thanks to a presentation by Oak Bay High students

The Mary Manning Centre, a child abuse prevention and counseling society, will receive a $5,000 donation, thanks to a well-researched and informative presentation by four Oak Bay High students.

Every year Grade 11 students in the Planning class participate in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, a program funded by the Toskan Casale Foundation, which has students work in groups, pick and research a local charity and present their findings to class. The charity of the top presentation receives a donation after a vote by judges, made up of teachers and the previous year’s winners. This is the second time in four years the centre got the $5,000 prize.

“We are very grateful and appreciative,” said Mary Manning Centre counsellor Ken Seidman. “We are very appreciative that the students recognize the ongoing and greater need to support abused children.”

Seidman said some funds will go toward the creation of a soft room, which will provide a calm space for abused children to work on their sensory and teach them to relax. The remaining amount will go toward support and resources. The society currently has a waiting list of almost 50 children.

Researching and learning about the Mary Manning Society was an eye-opening experience for the students involved.

“Learning that one in three females and one in six males will experience sexual abuse before (age) 18, in the sense of numbers, really speaks volumes in how big an issue it is,” said Ana Adams, who worked on the presentation.

“We did our best and are really proud,” said Sophie Brindle, adding her team was amazed by the work the society did.

Four groups of students, the top from each Planning class, presented the charity they researched. The other three presentations were on Life Ring, an alcohol and drug peer support group; Our Place Society, which provides support to Victoria’s homeless; and Operation Track Shoes, an annual provincial sports event at UVic for people with developmental disability.

The groups were rated on audience engagement, the outcome of what the $5,000 would do for the charity and the overall presentation.

“(The winning group) did a good job helping the audience understand what their charity is about,” said judge Shannon Giesbrecht, Oak Bay High career centre co-ordinator. “They really connected with the audience.

“I enjoy doing this every year. It’s amazing how much students get out of this and take away.”


The Youth Philanthropy Initiative was launched in Canada in 2002.