Megan Rickett credits the Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Vancouver Island organization with playing an integral and positive role in her young life.
Rickett, 16, spoke to the approximately 300 people who attended the United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island's kickoff breakfast for its annual fundraiser Friday morning at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
She said was just six years old and experiencing many difficulties related to coming from a family with a mother having health problems.
Rickett said she became involved with the BBBSCVI and was matched with big sister Teresa Demelo who has had a major impact on her life that continues to this day.
"Teresa is my rock and inspiration, and I've known since I first met her that someone really cared about me other than my mom" Rickett told the audience.
"If I didn't have a big sister like Teresa to look up to, I wouldn't be where I am today. Without the United Way and its support of organizations like (the BBBSCVI), people like me wouldn't have the opportunity to meet people like Teresa."
The United Way is an autonomous organization that raises money to support the programs of each branch's member agencies, filling a wide spectrum of community needs including assistance for families, persons with special needs, children, and various health care services.
The local United Way fundraising campaign this year hopes to raise $750,000 towards 33 critically needed central Island programs delivered by its 27 community partners, which includes the BBBSCVI.
Signy Madden, executive director of the UWCNVI, told the audience that many people in the central Island are facing "tough challenges."
"By giving to United Way, you can help thousands in our community, including families struggling with poverty, kids in desperate need of mentoring, people recovering from addictions or the impact of abuse as well as seniors at risk of isolation," she said. "United Way funds programs that we carefully select and monitor and know are addressing many of the major challenges that people are facing. United Way is about giving hope, practical help when it is needed most and strengthening individuals and the whole community" RBarron@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4234
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