Sault Teen Aims to Make Mask Wearing Fun

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Federal grant allows for significant mask donation

(SAULT STE. MARIE, September 17th, 2020) Sixteen-year-old Audrey Vair, a senior at Superior Heights High School, donated 185 masks between the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSMSSAB) and Algoma Family Services (AFS) this afternoon.

Vair applied for, and was the recipient of, a #RisingYouth community service grant in July. In August, her project was approved for a $750 grant to help her implement a community improvement project of her choice.

Vair chose to design face masks for disadvantaged youth in the community. All of the grant money went into purchasing the masks with no compensation to Vair.

“In such a weird time where no one knows what the future will look like, I wanted to be part of something positive,” Vair said. “When Stage 3 was implemented in the Sault, and we all had to wear masks to keep the community safe, one of my first thoughts was whether or not kids would willingly wear these. I thought there was an opportunity there to try and make sure that all kids have face masks that are fun and that they want to wear.”

To be sensitive to the recipients getting the masks, Vair was tight-lipped about the designs on them. She did say that she designed the masks to be gender neutral, fun and colourful. She then ordered them online and reached out to Mike Nadeau, CAO of DSSMSSAB to make the donation.

“It’s great to see youth actively involved in bettering our community,” said Nadeau. “It bodes well for our community to have young leaders who care. I hope she keeps up the great work.”

DSSMSSAB will give out 95 of the masks, with the other 90 being handed out by Algoma Family Services.

”These masks will go a long way in keeping our vulnerable children safe,” said Ali Juma, CEO of AFS. “It’s been such a hard time for everyone but especially kids. It’s the little things that make a big difference…like a cool mask. We are inspired by Audrey’s care and leadership.”

According to their website “#RisingYouth is a program led by TakingITGlobal, to help youth build Canada and develop life skills by giving back to their communities.” The program is funded by the Government of Canada. Youth between the ages of 15 – 30 can apply for one of three levels of grant ($250, $750, or $1,500).