Loyalist student with a passion for people

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Lora Powell, Child and Youth Care student at Loyalist College, is a firm believer in doing good deeds out of the kindness of one's heart.

"You shouldn't be paid for doing a good deed. The reward should come naturally to you and make you feel like you've done something that really contributed to making a difference in someone else's life."

When Powell's not in the classroom at Loyalist's Child and Youth Care program, she's out in the community looking to make a difference. Her love of kids and the knowledge she gained in her program are some of her biggest inspirations.

For the last three years, she has volunteered for Sleep Out so Others Can Sleep In as well as Freezin' for a Reason Campaign.

The most memorable experience Powell had was when she volunteered for the first time for the Sleep Out event.

"It was a great atmosphere. People were dancing and building their structures to sleep in made out of boxes. Overall it was a great experience. I am happy to be volunteering for this for the past three years," she said.

Sleep Out so Others Can Sleep In is a local annual initiative put on by the Canadian Mental Health Association. It provides emergency and short-term accommodation for homeless adults, youth and families and helps them to take steps towards safe and affordable living.

Freezin' for a Reason is recognized in many cities across the world. People raise money to support a local cause and then must submerge themselves into a local body of water in the middle of winter. The event is held in the Bay of Quinte.

"The hardest experience I ever had was also when I did the Sleep Out," she said. "It gave me a real understanding of homelessness in the community. Before the event, I had not idea about how much of a problem this was. I had no idea so many individuals were homeless and had a large number being teenagers hit home."

Homeless Hub, a national non-profit organization advocating for homeless people,  says in 2010 Belleville had 511 homeless people living on the streets, 146 living in transitional housing, and 955 people at risk of being homeless.

Last year, she also did a school project where her class raised money hosting a bottle drive with proceeds supporting the local Children's Mental Health Services.

"I love to volunteer because I like making a difference in my community," she said. "I also love it when an organization is helping children and youth, being a child and youth worker that is kind of my passion."

Powell is currently working on her placement at the Quinte West Youth Centre. The youth centre provides a variety of programs to youth and families in the area. Some of the programs available include: LGBTQ support, healthy eating and nutrition lessons, homework support, parenting tips and recreational sports.

After she completes her studies this year Powell hopes to continue being involved with the QWYC. She hopes to continue working with the organization because she said she loves what they stand for and the variety of programming they offer the community.

To her a hero is someone she can rely on, that does not expect anything in return after helping.

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