Each year, we at Project Give Back award a special honour to a former student who has gone on to inspire others through their commitment, hard work and determination. The award is our cherished Joey. This year the award was given to two former students who represent all those qualities and more: Samantha Adler and Ethan Taylor.

Project Give Back changed the way Samantha looked at the world, teaching her the most important lesson in giving back. The impact the program had on Samantha was so profound, she wanted to ensure that more students in both her own school and others would have the opportunity to participate in the program. So, based upon her experience with PGB , Samantha decided to focus her Bat Mitzvah Project on our very own charity. Last fall, Samantha and her mom decided to host a Pilates event and donated all proceeds to PGB. In just a mere two weeks, their event raised over $3000. Samantha’s efforts have not gone unrecognized. We are so proud of all she has accomplished and can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for her. We know one thing for certain, in that we have found a true advocate with Samantha.

Ethan Taylor has achieved more in young his years, than most have accomplished in an entire lifetime. For him, what began with a simple box, grew into an annual fundraiser, which has since raised over $18,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. With PGB, it was obvious to Ethan that he would chose this Centre to honour his grandmother. What he did not realize, was just how much further insight into the hospital and its foundation he would gain from doing his project. Since then, Ethan has continued to fundraise with his annual street fair, making it bigger and better. He has now handed the reigns over to his younger brother Jack, who will continue in Ethan’s footsteps.

Ethan has kept himself busy. In October of 2016, as a result his work, Ethan won the Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers and was presented with this award by Craig Kielburger. Since that time, Ethan also became the student council president at his school, leading global and local campaigns; raising money for the school and other important initiatives. At his grade eight graduation ceremony, he received the Ontario Principals Council Principals Award for Student Leadership. Most recently, Ethan was appointed to a position on the Minister of Education’s Student Advisory Council, where he has been working with other students to give a voice to students in the public education system. And this summer, Ethan will be travelling with a group of students to Costa Rica to do some community service work; such as running camps for underprivileged children, repairing and building houses and doing other meaningful work.

This incredible young man has accomplished so much in his young life that he truly is an inspiration to all others. His actions show how one can make such a strong impact in this world by simply giving back. And to think, it all began with a box!

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