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 Young Alumna Award 2005

Paula SCHUTZ’92
Paula is an outstanding branksome graduate who has achieved high goals
in her education, her career, and her extensive community work.

At Branksome, Paula was actively involved in the music programme, playing the clarinet for seven years, the violin and piano for five years, and performing with the Sheridan Symphony. Paula went on to receive a B.Sc. in Mathematics, elementary and secondary education certificates, and a Master’s in Education.

Presently, she is working on her Master’s in Business Administration at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Paula has taught mathematics to Grades 7 through 11 at Appleby College since 1997, but her heart has always been invested in community service. She created a programme called Camp ViSTa, which enabled students from Appleby to organize a day camp for underprivileged children. As Director of Community Service, she developed several community service programmes that have made Appleby College into a leader in social responsibility.
 
Paula has also established a charity for underprivileged children, known as Camp Talents Within, to help children discover and develop their hidden talents and provide them with an alternative to life on the street. Paula raises the funds to host the camp for six weeks during the summer and several one-day sessions in the winter. Camp Talents Within is an extraordinary extension of all her other personal and professional endeavours.
 
- Reesa DOWE Hughes’90 and Wendy SCHAAL Oldham’90

Excerpts from Paula's acceptance speech
When i think of achievement, I think of four key elements – passion, navigational skills, commitment and the ability to listen to and see those around you.
 
I believe that a child can learn these elements. A school’s teachers and staff contribute one-third to a child’s development, parents and family members another third, and the final third comes from the child’s community.
 
My own first achievement was to get through high school, as I had (and still have) a learning disability. My second was to earn a university degree. I had fabulous teachers at Branksome and soon realized that mathematics was one subject that came naturally to me.
 
I attended Canisius College and taught at inner city schools in Buffalo. After receiving a Master’s in Education at age 23, I headed to London, England and taught in low-income and highly populated immigrant regions. My years abroad, working with underprivileged children, made me appreciate
the opportunities I had growing up.
 
Once back in Canada, and happily teaching math at Appleby College, I recognized a need to help our local children.With the approval of the Headmaster, Camp ViSTa was formed, and within a year I found myself Director of Community Service. Over the next eight years, the camp grew from an initial 15 children to serve over 240 children a year.
 
One service project that had the greatest impact on me was our night walks through the streets of Toronto to meet and feed the homeless. Each walk was guided by a Salvation Army officer who was a recovering drug addict and previously homeless. I’ll never forget a former parent telling me that her daughter did not want to go to the cottage that summer, but rather wanted to volunteer on the Salvation Army street youth van, handing out food and necessities to homeless teens.
 
When Camp ViSTa was in its third year, I started Camp Talents Within, a charity for underprivileged children aged 8 – 12. Fundraising and event coordinating became integral elements. My challenge was to work with children from different cultures and areas for six weeks during the summer - teaching swimming, soccer, tennis or baseball. It was truly a challenge that fueled my passion to help others in need, as I wanted to see child gangs and violence decrease. And we did. Camp Talents Within is now in its fourth summer and the results are positive.We teach the children to use city resources, learn about different cultures, bridge gaps in learning, and establish commitment and confidence. My hope is to expand this programme throughout Ontario.
 
I wish to thank the Alumnae Association for selecting me for this award. Thank you to Meredith CHART Guest’92 for nominating me, and for being a great friend and strong supporter. Thank you to my parents for sending me to Branksome, and to my entire family and friends who continue to offer their support and encouragement with all my new initiatives. And finally, I thank the teachers and staff of Branksome Hall for making my years here memorable, and for giving me one-third of the tools I needed to succeed and achieve my goals in life.

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