Future visionary

• Ari McKay and his community-minded pals from East Fremantle primary school. Photo by Steve Grant.

WHILE Fremantle’s movers and shakers are hobnobbing over a long-table Christmas dinner to raise funds for St Pat’s this week, a young student has been quietly ensuring the service’s clients will also be enjoying some treats.

In fact, East Fremantle Primary School year 6 student Ari McKay’s entrepreneurial approach to making the world a better place this week earned him a prestigious Fred Hollows Humanity Award.

Ari’s teacher Julie Hughes had been teaching the class about being socially conscious, discussing environmental issues such as the impact of palm oil on orangutans, asylum seekers and homelessness.

Action

“I thought it was fascinating and we needed to take action,” Ari said.

“So I started a YouTube channel and created a video about homelessness.

“Then I decided to make a website; I went onto WordPress and asked dad if I could make a website and 10 minutes later I had it set up.”

It’s still a work-in-progress, and he’s busy adding an email sign-up and looking into creating a non-profit charity so he can take donations to send to worthy charities.

Not content with just one issue, he’s since added videos about palm oil and pollution and is working towards a new one on threats to Ningaloo Reef.

And while his online world has been developing, a project collecting donated foods for St Pat’s is going gangbusters, says his teacher.

Nearly every class in school has a box where parents and students donate goods; in the last month he’s delivered four already and has a stack more ready to go.

“The year ones are filling up their boxes weekly,” said Ms Hughes.

As part of his Fred Hollows award, Ari gets to spend $5000 on one of the organisation’s projects to help end avoidable blindness.

Although Ari’s efforts caught the foundation’s eye for an award, his year six mates at school have also been doing their bit.

By selling their own orangutan gifts they’ve raised $143 and have adopted a great ape at a sanctuary. Selling their own bread has raised nearly $1000 for St Pat’s and they’ve helped collect gifts for the Red Cross to deliver to underprivileged children.

by STEVE GRANT

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