Helping others has paid off well for a Surrey teen.
Olivia Helmer, 18, has won a TD Scholarship for Community Leadership, which is valued at $70,000 for up to four years of post-secondary schooling.
Since 2012, Helmer has run the Reach club at Kwantlen Park Secondary.
The club enables any student looking for friendship to “chill and hang out,” says Helmer.
Every Wednesday at lunchtime, they organize games, eat together and plan fundraisers.
Helmer says it’s a safe place that helps break down social walls.
Helmer set herself big goals for the scholarship money after she graduates this month.
She has enrolled at Trinity Western University for September, where she plans to major in biology, with a minor in French immersion.
“I’m not quite sure what I want to do, (but) I really want to help people and I know a doctor can do that, and so can a teacher.”
The money will be spread over up to four years.
“Tuition these days is super-expensive,” she explains.
She’s also got a job with TD for three or four summers – initially work at a local branch, followed by corporate or non-profit work with TD during future summers.
TD also recognized Helmer for other volunteer work at her school – the Inspire Club, which mentors female Grades 8 and 9 students – and her Sunday school and missionary work at Cedar Grove Baptist Church.
Helmer will head with her church to Zambia, Africa, this summer on a mission.
Helmer, who was awarded her TD scholarship in Toronto on May 29, was one of 20 recipients from across Canada.