By Kyle Reid
High school student says her life has been enriched by volunteering
O’Donel High student Leah Bugden represents a community spirit that is alive and well among Mount Pearl youth.
Bugden serves as chairperson of the Mount Pearl Youth Action Team, the O’Donel High Outreach Team and as the secretary for the Association of the Arts in Mount Pearl’s youth committee. She most recently took part in the O’Donel High production of Footloose as both a performer and the assistant director — the first time an O’Donel student took on that latter role. Generally, if there is a youth volunteer program in the City, it’s highly likely Bugden is involved.
“I don’t really know,” said Bugden when asked where she finds the time for all of her extracurricular activities. “That’s what a lot of people ask me. I enjoy putting my time towards all of it, so it doesn’t seem like a lot.”
Bugden acknowledged that while her schedule can be hectic, in the end the work is worth the effort. The young volunteer serves on a number of youth committees which lend a hand by organizing visits to retirement homes, sending care baskets to organizations such as the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Centre, and fundraising money for various causes through youth community events like paint nights and open mics. Community volunteerism is something that the Grade 12 O’Donel student said has been important to her since she was a child.
“I’ve always been interested in volunteering and helping people ever since I was young,” said Bugden. “It just feels right.”
Of course, the young volunteer isn’t the only Mount Pearl youth interested in helping her community. Bugden noted her school committee and the Mount Pearl Youth Action Team both consist of almost 20 other dedicated youth volunteers who contribute by lending helping hands in the city. She encourages everyone to get involved in their community, not only to help better the area that they live, but also to better themselves.
“I feel like if someone can volunteer with something they definitely should,” said Bugden. “It not only helps other people but it helps you — it helps shape you as a person. It makes you understand what other people are going through, or you can meet people with lives very different from your own. It really changes you as a person, for the better.”