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

Cycling Without Age raises funds for program

Free rides for seniors coming to Sidney

SidFest raises $1,500 for youth clinic

For the sixth year, SidFest has been an opportunity for talented high… Continue reading

Tanner’s Books owner is running for Sidney mayor

Cliff McNeil-Smith says managing growth is his top priority

Feast of Fields settles in for the summer of 2018

Vancouver Island Feast set for Kildara Farms in North Saanich on Aug. 26

CREST technology goes digital

System handles one call every four seconds

New stage highlight of Brentwood Bay Festival

Peninsula Country Market vendors and music accompany start of summer celebration

Sidney painter also a preacher

Patrick Chu opens new studio; off to China this month

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles

Manufacturers think that edibles will do well with users who don’t want to smoke or vape

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Car Free YYJ, family fishing, Sooke bluegrass, walk for cancer and a mascot’s birthday

Privacy lawyer warns against victim blaming in recent sextortion scams

Perpetrators get sexual photos of the victim and threaten to share them with friends and families

Most Read