A Pitt Meadows Secondary student is being recognized for their volunteerism and leadership.
Fatima Oday Al-Jumaili received the City of Pitt Meadows’ Community Service Youth Award last month for her hard work with the Grace Community Church Friends in Need Food Bank. Since joining the church group several years ago, she has assisted more than 2,500 people per month from across Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge in getting food and other essentials.
“I like to help people,” said the 17-year-old student. “It has been a very nice experience.”
Fatima moved to Canada from Dubai 11 years ago and said she initially got involved with the food bank to give back to her new community. She said the experience has introduced her to new people and helped her improve her English-speaking skills.
After she graduates this year, Fatima is planning on attending college, where she hopes to eventually work in early childhood education.
“She has a lot of patience,” said Penny Griffin, a teacher at Pitt Meadows Secondary.
While students are required to have 30 hours of volunteer time before graduating, Griffin said Fatima has quietly clocked hundreds of hours at the food bank.
“She is a very low-key kid,” Griffin added. “She is definitely not a kid who will ever brag.”
Fatima is one of a handful of people to receive the annual award, which recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, and businesses in the City of Pitt Meadows.
Mayor Bill Dingwall said the contributions from community members was particularly noteworthy in 2020 given the public-health challenges associated with COVID-19.
“I am extremely proud to celebrate the role models and leaders who have stepped up in extraordinary ways during an especially challenging year,” Dingwall said. “We have the best community for a reason. People are the heart of Pitt Meadows and our nominees and recipients deserve special recognition for their outstanding commitment to enhancing the wellbeing of our community.”