Kelty Slaney, is in her first year of university now, but when she was in middle school in Kelowna she created a program that has had a profound effect on girls in middle school here ever since.
She created a program called AMICIA to help team up girls in middle school with positive female role models in high school to help the younger students deal with negative issues associated with social media, body image, self-esteem and concerns they may have about making the jump from middle school to high school.
But creation of the program is just one in a long list of volunteer efforts Kelty has undertaken, and continues to undertake.
While in Kelowna she served on the Central Okanagan School District’s student council, coordinated the Push To End Homelessness campaign through her school’s Inerac Program, was a student leader for Beyond The Hurt and Lifesavers—both mental health programs—at Rutland Senior Secondary, served as a spokeswoman at school district mental health summits, published children’s story books, was an accomplished triathlete and role model for girls interested in sports, working on weekends with eight-year-olds, teaching running skills, influencing them to be active while integrating lessons about goal-setting, body image and compassion.
And she has taken that volunteer spirit to Carlton University in Ottawa where she is studying Global International Studies, majoring in international law. There she is a member of Mental Health Champions, a group working with college students on campus.
She says she remembers being told in Kelowna that volunteering would make school life much more rewarding, something she says she found to be true.
“In giving back to the community, you make so many friends,” says the 19-year-old.
And, she adds, there’s also a payback for her.
“It’s the giving back,” she says. “It simply brings me joy.”