Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre’s first ever Easter Carnival a success, thanks to youth volunteers

A young child at the Easter Carnival on Saturday, March 23. Photo: Jennifer Thuncher
A young girl at the Easter Carnival on Saturday, March 23. Photo: Jennifer Thuncher

For some people, Easter is a deeply religious time and for others it’s just an extra two days off school or work. But for the children at the first ever Marpole Easter Carnival on March 23 it was all about fun – and chocolate.

Dozens of parents and children packed the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre Saturday morning for an early Easter celebration. There were games, prizes and, of course, the Easter Bunny.

They came to have their faces painted, make Easter cards and baskets, string bead necklaces and participate in a beanbag toss, among other activities.

Youth volunteers made it possible

Erica Mark, the community centre organizer, estimated that 75 people were in attendance and was thrilled with the turnout, a success that she attributes entirely to the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre’s youth council.

“They planned it all and they are the volunteers,” Mark said of the team-spirited teens eager to have a little fun in advance of next week’s holiday.

Volunteer Easter Bunny David Cheng was also pleased with the event. “It is going really well. I am getting to meet a lot of interesting people,” he said. “The kids are very kind.”

When he’s not giving out chocolate, Cheng is also a Grade 11 student at Winston Churchill Secondary.

For Grade 12 student Bonnie Niu it was the perfect opportunity to give back to her neighbourhood.

“Spring Break is a great time to celebrate and open up to the community,” she said.

Other volunteers, however, had more practical reasons for spending their morning at the event. Audrey Leung, a student at Winston Churchill, was one of the volunteers helping with face painting. She was there to earn hours for her graduation requirement, she said.

But for little Theresa Xu who was making a necklace at the craft table, the reason for the event didn’t matter.

“Just fun,” she said.

Additional volunteer and outreach work

The youth council is made up of approximately 40 students who come from various local schools and do community outreach events and programs. They started planning for the Marpole Easter Carnival last year and for the last few months were working hard on the smaller details.

“We love children so it is fun,” said Niu, speaking on behalf of her colleagues.

Youth council members also organize and volunteer at workshops at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary for at risk youth from local elementary schools on such topics as body image, bullying and drugs. They’ve also helped run a campaign called “Beauty From the Inside Out” for the last three years.

Reported by Jennifer Thuncher and edited by Bronwyn Scott

Jennifer Thuncher reports from the Marpole Easter Carnival on March 23rd, 2013 in this video.

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