Around the holidays, when most university students are gearing up for final exams, Luke Berzins generously donates his spare time and energy to helping our Trees for Tots committee. His efforts have made a big difference to the initiative and he says the work comes with its own rewards.
On that cold January day, over 200 volunteers come from all over the city to join in one cause, one goal, making life a little better for the kids in this community. The volunteers are of different backgrounds and ages, however, they share in the same accomplishment when you see a project such as Trees for Tots from start to finish.
Luke has made a big impression on the Children’s Foundation team right from the start.
“I first met Luke in 2017 when he inquired about volunteering with Trees for Tots”, says Outreach Coordinator Brenda Walsh. “I was immediately impressed with his work ethic and level of commitment, especially for a busy University Student. In the depths of his Economic and Political Science studies at the U of G, I asked him to join our Trees for Tots Outreach Committee and he was quick to raise his hand and say ‘I will’. He has brought great value to our little working committee."
The Trees for Tots Committee meets and brainstorms ways to reach more of Guelph’s residents who purchase live Christmas trees. Currently we know that there are about 8,000 live trees purchased in the City of Guelph and last year we collected around 3,300. Luke, along with his committee, researched the locations, retailers and neighbourhoods where people buy and decorate live trees for the season. They then try to reach as many of these homes as possible. Luke leads a group of volunteers who tirelessly comb the city hanging our Tree Tags on trees for sale at various retail locations.
As he speaks to business owners and store managers, he also knows he is increasing public awareness about the programs offered by The Children's Foundation. Luke feels especially connected to the Free to Grow program. “Playing sports cultivates self-esteem and helps kids build bonds that can last a life time,” he says. It’s no wonder Luke is such a committed hand raiser!