TORONTO – Most students will agree that recess is one of the highlights of their school day. This is especially true on warm days and particularly for those itching to buy freezies from 12-year-old Toronto resident Andrew Shinoff.
The students not only get to enjoy the tasty treats, but they also help Andrew raise money for Interplast, an organization providing free reconstructive surgery for children and adults in developing countries.
I think Who Is Nobody? is a really good program, because it gets people more aware and involved— Andrew Shinoff, student
I feel good about the work I’ve been doing,” said Andrew. “I think Who Is Nobody? is a really good program, because it gets people more aware and involved. It helped me to become more aware of the people around me.
Andrew launched this project in Grade 1 at Forest Hill Public School through Who Is Nobody?, a program that has encouraged students in grades 1 through 12 at schools under more than 40 school boards across Canada to use their interests and skills to implement initiatives to help people, animals, or the environment. His teacher at the time, Kelly Clark, founded the program the previous year, when Andrew’s sister, Jamie, also participated and collected donations of children’s videos for the Hospital for Sick Children.
It’s a great feeling knowing you are helping people— Andrew Shinoff, student
Andrew knew that he wanted to help people abroad. After consulting with his parents, his father Steve offered to go with him to purchase freezies that he can sell to children in the neighbourhood, while his mother, Mindy, a registered nurse, suggested he donate the money raised to Interplast.
During that first year, he managed to garner $600. Keen on building on his success, he decided to continue with his project over the years.
To date, he has raised about $13,000 for Interplast.
Now a Grade 7 student at Deer Park Public School, Andrew has led by example and gotten his whole family involved in his project. His grandparents, nanny, and older sisters, Jamie and Marlee, have also sometimes helped him sell freezies.
“Who is Nobody? helped Andrew develop the desire to raise funds for all worthy causes that come his way,” added Steve. “He will involve himself in any fundraising activities that are introduced at school, as well as fundraising for the team sports that he is involved in.”
When Andrew sometimes goes with his father to watch professional hockey games, he prepares sandwiches or brings drinks to give to the homeless people near the Air Canada Centre.
This has influenced Steve to also give the homeless food or drinks he may have in his car when he spots them during his regular daily travels.
“It’s nice to see other people doing things after you do them,” said Andrew. “It’s a great feeling knowing you are helping people.”
For more information on Who Is Nobody? visit www.whoisnobody.com.
This article was published in The Jewish Tribune on March 3rd 2009