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AUTHOR: Allison Bowsher
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When it comes to making a positive difference in your community, there are many ways to enact change and give back. To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, RBC launched the RBC 150 Challenge, giving young Canadians across Canada $150 to be used towards making their community a better place to live.

The results were nothing short of inspiring, with Canadian youth using the money to visit and entertain senior citizens, sponsor a youth soccer tournament, give away shoes to those in need, and more.

Mackenzie Jefferies, a teenager from Corner Brook, Newfoundland, stood firm on where he wanted his $150 from RBC to go and that was right back into the ground beneath him. During a trip to Northern Canada, Mackenzie came face to face with the effects of climate change. “I was standing on top of a glacier that retracted so much in the past fifteen years. I never really comprehended the effects of what we are doing to our environment until I was standing on top of that glacier.”

Thanks in part to that experience, Mackenzie is committed to making Canada a more sustainable and environmentally friendly place to live. “Environmental sustainability is something that I believe we need to start fixing ASAP,” says Jefferies, who used his RBC 150 Challenge money to purchase 150 seedlings. “From my indigenous roots I understand that the environment is not our own and we are only visiting, so we must leave it the way we found it. We must care for the world and ensure that it is still here for future generations to enjoy.”

Mackenzie enlisted the help of his friends and family to plant the trees, with Grenfell Campus generously donating space in front of their forestry building to act as the new home for the seedlings.

Being passionate about the environment made Mackenzie’s decision on where to allocate his RBC funds an obvious one, but he notes that not knowing where to focus your efforts shouldn’t be a deterrent in getting involved in your community. “Start by researching little things that are offered within the community. Look for school or community groups that have the same goal or mind set as you. You can also start by making a group yourself if there isn’t one present!”

Speaking out on various causes and leading by example isn’t just something Mackenzie practices, but preaches as well. “Ask your friends to join and get them to spread the word! Visit junior high schools, make announcements on the local radio stations and use social media as a platform for spreading the news.”

Like a small seedling growing into a beautiful tree that provides clean air and shade, Mackenzie knows that the size of change isn’t as important as its lasting impact. “Every little ripple effect you make will result in a wave of change.”

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