It began with a button and now has resulted in three young Newmarket boys receiving pins for their contributions to the community.
Brothers Jake, Owen, and Nathan Tubaro were among the recipients of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pins given by Newmarket-Aurora MP Tony Van Bynen in a ceremony at Pickering College Aug. 23. The boys were recognized for their work selling buttons for Ukraine and raising money for the Canadian Red Cross.
Twins Jake and Owen said it felt really good to receive the pins, while older brother Nathan said it was cool and exciting.
Since they began making the pins in March of this year, shortly after the conflict began in Ukraine, the brothers have raised nearly $20,000.
"I’m happy that we raised that much money because that can help a lot of people," Owen said.
Jake agreed and said, "I feel really excited and good that I helped a lot of people."
Nathan said when they first started, he never thought they would raise that much money.
"It’s crazy that we raised that much and I hope it helps a lot of people,” he said.
The brothers are continuing to sell buttons and raise money and said they will take it as far as it can go.
They were among a number of Newmarket and Aurora residents who were recognized for their contributions to the community. Each was nominated for the award, which commemorates Queen Elizabeth II's 70th anniversary on the throne.
"Perhaps they have not changed the world, but without a doubt they have made our communities better places to live," Van Bynen said. "Each of the recipients has touched their neighbours with kindness, supported those in need, inspired others to join a movement, and demonstrated that regardless of age, we can make a positive difference to those around us.
John Parkin was another Newmarket resident who received a pin. He was celebrated for his bottle and can collecting at his condo, which has resulted in a $5,500 donation to the Newmarket Food Pantry over the past three years.
It all started when Parkin would see all the empty alcohol bottles and cans in their condo's recycling room and it would bother him because they weren't being disposed of properly, he said. He approached the condo board about putting a bin and a sign up in the room and residents really responded to it.
“Everybody says it’s a great idea,” he said.
Parkin empties the bin every two to three days and each week returns six or seven boxes of bottles and over 100 cans to the Beer Store. The money he gets from the returns is collected and donated regularly to the food pantry, a cause chosen based on the need in the community.
Not only does it support a good cause, but Parkin said it also gives him exercise regularly and helps the environment.
"I’m into the environment because we’ve seen what happens," he said, adding that he remembers it not being so hot and water levels being higher.
With a number of other condos and apartment buildings in Newmarket, he said he hopes to see others inspired by this idea and implementing it where they live.
"If one person can do it in one building, hopefully other people can do it in other buildings," Parking said.
He said he was surprised by the recognition and receiving the pin because "what we do is so minor but as Tony said, every little bit helps."
The pin ceremony was held in the dining hall at Pickering College, which was a full circle moment for one of the recipient, Graham Birt, who is also a teacher at the school.
Birt has been at Pickering College for 16 years and teaches science, gym and kinesiology. He was recognized for his volunteer efforts with the Canadian PanAm and Olympic Teams, as well as his volunteer work at Camp Oochigeas for kids with cancer and America's Camp in the United States, which served children who lost a parent in 9/11.
"It’s strange being recognized because I feel like I’ve gained way more than I’ve given back. All of these experiences have just changed me as a person for the better," he said.
Birt said it was surreal to have this ceremony at Pickering College and that the school has been very supportive of everything he does.
"The school has been so encouraging of me taking on all of this outside of the classroom and I think they see the value in me bringing my experiences back to our students," he said. "It’s not easy. When I’ve been leaving for the winter Olympics, it’s been a lot of work on the school’s part to allow me that opportunity."
Other Newmarket recipients of the jubilee pins included Adrian Bain, executive director of the Newmarket Food Pantry, Jennifer McLachlan of Cachet Supper Club, education advocate Shameela Shakeel, and young philanthropists and sisters Manha and Laiba Yusuf. Other recipients of the pins will be honoured at a second ceremony in October.
Here all all the recipients recognized on Aug. 23:
- Adrian Bain
- Allan Hoyle
- Aimee Le
- Amie Meads
- Angela Kocot
- Barb Barker
- Christiana Parisa Fard
- Judy Brunton
- Graham Birt
- Jennifer McLachlan
- John Parkin
- Joanne Witt
- Jake, Owen, and Nathan Tubaro
- Laiba and Manha Yusuf
- Lynn McLarnon
- Mark Misko
- Raquel Fox
- Pamela Bay-Crawford
- Robert Cole
- Shameela Shakeel
- Steve Hinder
- Tom Smith
- Tyler Barker