Victoria Chicchini, left, and the rest of the Junior Leadership class at Alberni District Secondary School hold up inspirational signs and backpacks they have filled with items useful to people experiencing homelessness. The class donated backpacks to homelessness advocate Mark Braunagel on May 19, 2022. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Victoria Chicchini, left, and the rest of the Junior Leadership class at Alberni District Secondary School hold up inspirational signs and backpacks they have filled with items useful to people experiencing homelessness. The class donated backpacks to homelessness advocate Mark Braunagel on May 19, 2022. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Port Alberni high school leadership students collect backpacks for people living on city’s streets

Junior leadership class members wrote personal letters, stuffed backpacks with useful items

Students from the Alberni District Secondary School junior leadership class have stepped up again to help vulnerable people in their community.

Students spent a couple of weeks in May collecting backpacks and stuffing them with items useful to people who are living rough or have no home. They each included a personal letter for the recipient of the backpack, leadership teacher Mike Roberts explained.

The leadership classes have previously stuffed backpacks to be donated to vulnerable people in Port Alberni, working with homelessness advocate Mark Braunagel.

The students come up with a service project each semester, and this year they wanted to repeat the backpacks, Roberts said. “This is near and dear to me for lots of different reasons,” he added.

Students brought in 25-35 backpacks, then made an assembly line to fill them. They then took them home to fill with any missing items. They created a poster campaign to bring awareness to the project within the high school.

“People appreciate it so much, especially when it comes from young people,” said Braunagel, who picked up the backpacks and began handing them out to people in late May.

“Out of all the things I have donated, the backpacks are the most appreciated. Especially the letters.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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Students pile backpacks for donation into homelessness advocate Mark Braunagel’s truck, to be delivered to people in need. (May 19, 2022) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Students pile backpacks for donation into homelessness advocate Mark Braunagel’s truck, to be delivered to people in need. (May 19, 2022) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)