Semiahmoo student Nury Lee has a lot on her plate. The 18-year-old Duke of Edinburgh Gold award winner is preparing to enter university and in her spare time has created a website that raises money for charity by selling new and used items online.

Semiahmoo student Nury Lee has a lot on her plate. The 18-year-old Duke of Edinburgh Gold award winner is preparing to enter university and in her spare time has created a website that raises money for charity by selling new and used items online.

Semi student creates charitable website

Creator of Freedom Hands balances a full plate of activities with school

Nury Lee is, of course, on time and well-prepared.

The 18-year-old Semiahmoo Secondary student, Duke of Edinburgh Award gold medal winner and charity website creator shows up for an interview with a Peace Arch News reporter with a copy of the report she wrote about the wilderness trip she went on to qualify.

She also brings with her a bookmark that promotes two charitable causes on each side.

On one side, there is information about the non-profit Freedom Hands website that Lee created with her younger sister ( and, on the other, a plea to support a bottle drive fundraiser for children with autism (

Lee has agreed to be interviewed because she wants to boost the profile of Freedom Hands, which aims to raise money for children in Third World countries by selling “new or gently used” items, as well as handmade crafts and jewelry online.

She built the website herself, but downplays her achievement, insisting it could have been done faster.

“It took me a whole week,” she says.

Lee would like to get more attention for the site, which raises money for Free The Children, a charitable group and youth movement that aims to help young people in poor countries.

“Initially, it worked well,” Lee says of the web site, but donations and purchases have since plateaued.

“The hard thing was getting it out there (promoting it),” she says.

While she was setting up Freedom Hands, Lee was also working on a Duke of Edinburgh award that required her to go on an “adventurous journey.”

She completed a four-day expedition to explore Murtle Lake with other teens working on their Duke of Edinburgh gold awards.

They canoed more than 50 kilometres in often windy conditions, and completed several wilderness hikes.

“The most significant aspect about this journey was that it really let me escape from my busy life,” Lee says in her written report.

“Through the experience, I was able to reflect upon myself,and really think about the things around me.”

Lee also does volunteer work with children and recently took part in a cross-Canada beach cleanup, patrolling White Rock’s East Beach with other young people.

Throughout, she has managed to maintain a 4.0 grade average.

“I don’t sleep much,” admits Lee, who is now trying to decide which university to attend.

She hopes to pursue a career as a developmental pediatrician.

Lee feels it is important this PAN article note that she is a year older than other students in her class, because the school system in Korea, where she was born and didn’t begin learning English until she was five, operates classes on a different schedule.

Otherwise, she fears, people might think there was something exceptional about her accomplishments.

Nury Lee

Left: Nury Lee (R) poses for a picture with fellow grad Anna Robbins from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary  School (L) during a canoe trip that qualified Lee for the Duke of Edinburgh award. Right: Lee paddles a canoe on her qualifying camping trip. Photos courtesy Liam Page


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