Young Leaders in Action Series: Brooke Harrison
November 8, 2011
Lucky for me, I have met several young leaders who definitely do not fit the stereotype of ‘apathetic youth’. In Charity Republic’s Young Leaders in Action series, we will be featuring youth that go above and beyond the call of charity duty in order to make this world a better place.
Meet Brooke Harrison, a 17-year-old from Aurora, Ontario, who has found her passion in helping others. Brooke has published two cookbooks and donated over $60,000 in proceeds to childhood leukemia research. She is also the Youth Ambassador for Magna International’s Neighbourhood Network, and founder of the Philip Aziz Centre’s Youth Advisory Council. We will let Brooke tell you the rest of her story.
Charity Republic: What motivated you to get involved in charity work?
Brooke: When I was six-years-old, my then five-year-old cousin Juliana was diagnosed with Leukemia, and I was determined to help her beat this thing called cancer; a concept that I did not yet understand. So I came to the conclusion at the ripe old age of six, that I would pay the doctors to work overtime so that Juliana would be cured...definitely six year old logic. In keeping with my determination, I decided to make a cookbook with all proceeds going towards childhood leukemia research. I sent out many letters to my friends and family asking for their favourite recipes and at the age of 8 “Cookin in Brooke’s Kitchen” was published (117 pages double-sided I might add). Throughout the creation of my book I met some incredible people who shared my same passion for finding a cure for Leukemia and with their support I published “Cookin in Brooke’s Kitchen 2” at the age of 11. In conjunction with both books, I have been able to raise over $60,000 for childhood leukemia research. More importantly, I am happy to report that Juliana just turned 16 and is 100% cancer-free.
By creating my cookbooks, I unknowingly sparked a passion for helping others that has led me to create the first Youth Advisory Council for the Philip Aziz Centre in Toronto. My team and I have organized 3 Christmas drives and are currently planning our 5th annual charity golf tournament which to date has raised around $110,000. Additionally, I have recently had the honour of becoming the Student Ambassador for Neighbourhood Network, where I assist in making a connection between youth and local volunteer opportunities. This past summer I also became involved in helping our Native Canadians who live in fly-in communities in northern Ontario, who are living in Third World conditions. Philanthropy work and giving back has evolved from simply helping my cousin to a wide variety of projects because I managed to find my passion in helping others, and I don’t want to stop anytime soon.
Charity Republic: Why is it important for you to make a difference in the world?
Brooke: I find it important to make a difference in the world because: (a) there are so many opportunities and avenues to assist others not just overseas, but here in our own backyard of Canada, and (b) I just love helping others!
Charity Republic: What are you most passionate about?
Brooke: I am most passionate about my fellow Canadians. There are so many people who need a helping hand in our own country that it astonishes me, and I think it simply comes down to educating people on our own issues, which will make a huge difference.
Charity Republic: What advice do you have for young people your age?
Brooke: My advice to other people my age, is find something you are passionate about and go for it! As long as you are having fun with what you are doing, charity work is not a chore and you will want to continue with it, take my word on that. You can do anything you set your mind to, and kids are no exception.
Charity Republic: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Brooke: In five years I see myself in University pursuing a degree that I can use to better assist more people throughout my lifetime. I have every intention of blending my career with philanthropy work, because that is what I am passionate about and that is what will make me happy, which is my ultimate goal in life.
That’s all for now but stay tuned because I’m sure this 17-year-old is just getting started. Check back soon for other stories of young leaders who go above and beyond the call of charity duty.
Founder, Charity Republic
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