Rain didn’t deter participants from taking part in the Hike for Hospice.

Rain didn’t deter participants from taking part in the Hike for Hospice.

White Rock Youth Ambassadors join hike

Annual Hike for Hospice fundraiser was held under rainy skies May 4 in Crescent Beach

By Alex Wilks, Special to the Peace Arch News

White Rock Youth Ambassadors showered the Hospice Society with donations at last week’s Hike for Hospice in Crescent Beach.

Held on the extremely wet May 4, the early morning showers deterred many supporters this year, and Ambassadors co-chair Debbie Ward and her energetic group of teens led the hike in their beige-coloured khakis and bright red windbreakers.

The youth group managed to raise $420 for the White Rock/South Surrey charity that provides comfort and grief counselling for individuals nearing the end of their lives.

The Hike for Hospice is a community-run event that raises funds and awareness for Hospice Society Palliative Care and Bereavement Programs and Services.

The hike was broken up into one-, three- and five-kilometre treks along marked paths in Blackie Spit Park.

Youth Ambassador Mhargielyn Balancio, 17, said she believes her volunteer work with the charity has taught her how to better herself by helping others.

She collected pledges over the past few weeks through connections from friends and family, allowing her to contribute.

“The day was really cold and rainy but it felt good to know I was helping such a great cause,” Balancio said.

Ward has been involved in the Ambassadors program for 12 years.

“The big picture is to teach young people how to volunteer and network with the end goal being that they will continue this activity in their lives into whatever community they find themselves,” Ward said, noting the group chose the Hospice Society because it “is a wonderful addition to any community, to have the option to improve the quality of someone’s end of life.”

Ward explained that the youth group program is structured to equip each teens with skills such as the ability to speak in public and knowledge of their local history. Ambassadors are challenged outside of their comfort zones and are measured and judged based on their leadership roles.

Selected as part of the Miss White Rock Pageant each summer, the Ambassadors strive to make their community a better place, Ward said.

Other community events attended by the White Rock Youth Ambassadors include August’s Spirit of the Sea Festival, this month’s Peace Arch Hospital Gala and the Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day.

For more information on how to donate to the White Rock/South Surrey Hospice Society, visit www.whiterockhospice.org

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