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Sometimes it’s the smallest of gestures that make the biggest impact.

Maria Gilbert, a Grade 11 student at Fort Frances High School, was selected as the local recipient of RBC’s “Canada 150” initiative—a promotion in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 in which one youth from communities across the country is given $150 to make a difference within their community.

The teen chose to use the funds to purchase toys, games, and other supplies for the “Best Buddies” program at Fort High, which aims to bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities in order to create an inclusive and welcoming environment there.

Despite the relatively modest amount of money, Ms. Gilbert, who has been involved with “Best Buddies” since she started high school and now leads the program, was able to buy items she knew would have a “huge impact”—which clearly was evident on the faces of the students when they first saw her purchases yesterday morning.

Ms. Gilbert’s laudable altruism also sparked donations by Ramiro Matias of Sunset Medical here, as well as additional funding through Char Bliss at the Rainy River District School Board.

This is a shining example of the difference one person can make to improve the lives of others.

It’s a reminder, too, as we enter the Christmas season of giving, that we all have the means to bring joy to others in small ways.

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