NewmarketToday continues its annual tradition of marking the giving season by celebrating Newmarket's Community Angels — the people whose kindness, compassion and community spirit help make our town one of the best to live in the country.
Sisters Manha and Laiba Yusuf prove that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still make a big difference in your community.
Aged 10 and eight respectively, the Newmarket residents have raised thousands of dollars for Inn From the Cold homeless shelter and other local causes by selling fruit, veggies, and nut platters and flowers in various drives throughout the year.
“At this young age I am very thankful to all the community leaders and donors for believing in me,” Laiba said.
Her older sister echoes the sentiment.
“I’ve been very thankful to the community for giving the opportunity to raise funds and hold donations before and during the pandemic. Also to all the donors and supporters, I share with you the positive change we have seen with our joint efforts,” Manha said.
On top of raising funds throughout the year, they also hold a back-to-school drive over the summer to collect backpacks and school supplies, which are donated to various local organizations for kids in need.
Laiba said it is one of her favourite campaigns they do.
“I am so happy to see a lot of youth and children receiving new backpacks full of school supplies,” she said.
For youth who are able to also contribute, Laiba said they should.
“I encourage all youth to come forward and help out the community in donating and doing fundraisers of your own. The satisfaction of giving back to the community is priceless,” she said.
Manha had a similar message for all members of the community, regardless of age.
“I believe in you and hope that you can end hunger and poverty and homelessness in our society and help stamp out stigma for mental health,” she said.
Earlier this year, Manha was recognized with the prestigious Diana Award, which is given to youth around the world who are making a difference in their local community.
At the time of the award ceremony in June, she said the award inspired her to keep working hard in the future.
The sisters are already looking forward to their campaigns for 2022.
“In the new year, I wish to expand my work and include fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh meat for the community, food banks, shelters, and people in need,” Manha said.
Laiba said she is also looking to expand and wants to focus on education.
“In the new year I wish to expand kindness and create opportunities for youth in need to get access to free tutoring in math, reading and create new buddy benches in the region,” she said.
After a break for the holidays, the sisters will be getting ready for their Valentine’s Day fundraiser, where they will sell roses and other goods to raise money.