HEARTS OF THE COMMUNITY: Ram dedicated to mental health awareness

Winner of the Outstanding Volunteer Youth Award has been volunteering since Grade 8.

  • Feb. 27, 2015 5:00 p.m.

Michael Ram says volunteering provides valuable community services.

As the recent Hearts of the Community volunteer awards ceremony illustrated, the Saanich Peninsula has a plethora of passionate volunteers supporting the community, including a strong base of youth volunteers. Everyone was recognized and thanked, but it was the exceptional dedication to his community shown by Michael Ram that won him the annual Outstanding Volunteer Youth Award, which included a $1,000 award.

The Grade 12 honour roll student at Parkland Secondary School kicked off his volunteer career back in Grade 8, with Panorama Recreation’s summer camps. From there, Ram progressed to volunteering his time as coach and referee for after school drop-in basketball games at the North Saanich Middle School, participating in a myriad of charity events for the Victoria chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and running game booths at the Saanichton Fair to raise money for the Sidney Rotary Club.

One of Ram’s main focuses right now is promoting awareness about mental health and he recently returned from a mental health and wellness conference in Vancouver.

“After attending these conferences and listening to these public speakers, who went through different scenarios but were feeling the same symptoms, they inspired me.

“It’s really important that students and people my age understand that you’re not alone,” he says. “It’s a matter of opening that box and stopping that stigma.”

To that end, Ram and a fellow schoolmate are going to be presenting what they learned at the conference to the school leadership group.

“Everyone struggles with mental health, and the main thing is to get it out there,” he says.

“One of the first steps is just talking to someone.”

Ram has experienced the benefits of volunteerism firsthand, in dedicated coaches and teachers who impacted his developing years, and says he wants to give some of that dedication back.

“Growing up, my parents always taught me that you can’t go through life without giving back,” he says.

“It makes me so thankful that there are people in my life that have given up their time to help me succeed, and I want to have that same impact on my community.”

Though often thought of as the realm of retirees, volunteering is a worthwhile effort for youth as well, for themselves as well as their communities.

“It provides valuable community services,” he says. “And through meeting new people, I’ve expanded my knowledge and I’ve learned professional skills.”

“Volunteering has a bonus impact on the health and wellbeing of communities, not only here, but worldwide,” he adds.

As he graduates this year, Ram, as co-grad class president, will be working hard to make sure that he and his fellow classmates have a memorable last year.

Come September, he’s set his sights on university and a business degree, but says his volunteer time will remain a top priority.

“Giving back is a family belief,” he says, and he plans to keep it up.

Just Posted

Peninsula Panthers knocking on the door of the VIJHL playoffs

NORTH SAANICH — The Peninsula Panthers are getting down to crunch time… Continue reading

Tent city resident just wants a home

Roving tent city has made its way to Central Saanich

Keating Elementary to get seismic upgrades, 4 new classrooms

Construction on $7.92 million project to begin in July

First Nations integral to North Saanich’s new addictions treatment facility

Pauquachin First Nation working with Homewood Health at former Dunsmuir Lodge site

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Injured parachutist wants stolen backpack back

Bag contained important video files of 2017 parachuting incident

Boat capsizes in Caddy Bay

Two members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club Race Team spent part… Continue reading

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Witnesses sought to reported sexual assault in downtown Victoria

Early morning incident happened near Quadra and View streets

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kids chained in Calif. house of horrors; parents arrested

Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka

Most Read