$1,600 has been re-invested into the Altona area, thanks to the efforts of W.C. MIller's Student Council and its Youth in Philanthropy (YiP) initiative. 

Students doled out grants to five not-for-profit organizations at a presentation at the school on Tuesday. There, Piper Stoesz, a member of the student council, explained $800 was raised through various initiatives including a dance, a bake sale, during the intermission at this year's drama, and the sale of chocolates and roses on Valentine's Day, donuts at Aces hockey games, and school clothing. The remaining $800 was matched through a partnership with the Altona Community Foundation (ACF). 

"It was so fun," added Meadow Letkeman, secretary for the Student Council. "Our school definitely has lots of school spirit, I'll say that. We advertised a lot through the Instagram account, which me and another member run, and I think that targets a lot of audience for our school to have participation on fund raisers. Yeah, our school did a really good job of fund raising."

Letkeman added, this experience has been a learning one for her.

"I have learned about how different people are and (have) different perspectives on different things, and what people's interests are, what they like to do. It's just nice to be on student council and see the wide variety of diversity in our school."

Being on student council has been important for Letkeman, allowing her to participate in and give back to her school. 

"Obviously, I'm a student here and I think it's important for students to have voices for the school and do things that students want that is modern for our school," she said. "I really enjoy being on student council and I think it's really important to have different voices of people from different cultures, different grades, different opinions."

Al Friesen is a member of ACF, and he spoke at Tuesday's presentation. 

"We are pleased to partner with you," he said. "We are privileged and honoured to be working together with you to make things better in our community." He pointed to ACF's banner that was on display. "As it says, 'For today's needs'. That theme was established 30 years ago and it's just important today."

ACF board member, Cheryl Dueck, presents a cheque to the YiP groupACF board member, Cheryl Dueck, presents a cheque to the YiP group

The 2023 YiP grants were:
Katie's Cottage - $200 to purchase outdoor dishes for the cottage's outdoor dining area.
Altona Junior Curling - $500 to help purchase broom heads and replace broom pads.
Altona Area Family Resource Centre - $200 to help pay for books about Indigenous history.
Gardens on Tenth - $400 to buy plants for the facility's raised garden beds.
Altona Girls Minor Softball - $300 to purchase two masks and chest protectors to lend to umpires new to the program.

Ruth Reimer from Katie's Cottage was one of the recipients to attend Tuesday's grant presentation. 

"We just added our pergola on our deck this past year, and the gazebo, of course, that was built by the kids here in the Carpentry class a few years ago. So, to be able to serve lemonade or dainties outside in the beautiful weather that we've been having, it's just extra special for families to be able to get that and not worry about 'Am I gonna break these dishes?' ", she explained.

With about 300 visitors to the Cottage so far this year, she notes 2023 has been a busy one. 

Reimer added, she feels Katie would be excited to see how her vision has grown and evolved over the years. 

"I think seeing the kids today reminded me a lot about her and her dream to give back. Meadow said it so beautifully, 'We are giving back to our community'. If we don't give back to these communities and the Youth in Philanthropy and the foundations, these communities will struggle. So, getting two hundred dollars may not seem like a lot to someone, but to me it's an awful lot of money that these kids have worked so hard for," she explained. 

As for Meadow, we asked her if this experience left her considering similar efforts after high school.

"Yeah, I definitely think that is an interest for me, especially student council and politics. It's important to give back to our community. So yeah, I definitely think that's something I would be interested in."