“Try to be as kind as possible and spread joy… not just at Christmas.”
That’s the message Red Deer’s Jayda Monilaws is sharing with the community this winter season.
On Wednesday, Jayda, 12, surprised Turning Point Society of Central Alberta with a large donation of essential items and a cheque for the city’s most vulnerable, all in part of #jaydaskindnessproject.
For the past few years, Monilaws has supported marginalized groups in the community by raising awareness and support with an annual cupcake fundraiser and through her kindness project. While this year has been hard on everyone, the pre-teen recognized some people have it harder than others. It’s for that’s why she chose Turning Point as her organization of choice.
“I wanted to help those who could really use it,” shared Monilaws excitedly with eyes shining brightly above her mask. “I want to make people smile.”
“Every day, we hear from our clients how isolated their lives have become as a result of the pandemic,” says Turning Point.
“During this time, we’ve also seen an alarming increase in overdose deaths within Red Deer and surrounding communities, and although Turning Point’s Overdose Prevention Site remains open 24 hours a day, our client capacity has been reduced – something that has likely caused more people to use alone.”
“No one should feel alone or not loved… they aren’t alone,” the Grade 7 Westpark School student said firmly. “Everyone matters. I just like to hear that they know someone in the community cares.”
Her mom, Nicki, said she’s proud of the mindset Jayda has to leave the world a better place.
“We think there is always an opportunity for extending kindness, and everyone deserves compassion, love and kindness,” shared Nicki.
While collecting donation items for Turning Point, Monilaws and her mom received a $500 cheque made out to Turning Point, donated by Frank and Stacey Massner at MAS-PRO.
They also received several essential warm clothing items (mits, scarves, and toques), snacks (granola bars and fruit cups), hand and feet warmers, hygiene items, and $400 worth of small McDonald’s gift cards. These items were donated by Red Deer community members and businesses backing Monilaw’s mission.
“This support is critical for those most vulnerable in central Alberta,” said Mitchell Danser, Turning Point’s communications and community engagement coordinator. “Not only will these donations support healthier, safer lives, but they will also help to spread Jayda’s message, that these individuals are loved, valued, and not forgotten.
“That message is needing to be shared throughout the community more than ever.”
Her mom wants everyone to know that kindness doesn’t always have to be a big gesture. Sometimes the tiniest actions can make the biggest impact.
“All of these ‘small’ donations [Jayda’s] collected adds up to a very large donation of love, hope and kindness,” shared Monilaws. “We’re wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and we hope these acts of kindness from the community show people we all care.”