Michelle Ruston has a knack for making something out of very little.
Inspired but not satisfied by the $150 she was asked to donate by RBC to make her community better, the Glenboro teenager got her community on board with turning her comparatively small gift into thousands of dollars.
She made a day of it, arranging a packed schedule of meals, movie showings and games of crokinole and pool.
In total, Ruston, 17, took $150 in seed money and converted it into approximately $6,000 earlier this month.
The money will go toward the Health Action Committee’s efforts to recruit medical staff for the Glenboro Health Centre, specifically doctors.
"I figured I might as well try to make a bit more than the $150," said Ruston, a Grade 11 student at Glenboro School.
RBC decided to give thousands of young Canadians $150 each this year.
The catch? They use the money to make their communities a little better.
Ruston easily could have handed the money to the Health Action Committee and been done with it, but she wasn’t content with that.
She knew Glenboro had three doctors not long ago and now only has one doctor working, who is past retirement age.
"I thought, well, I need a doctor and my family needs a doctor and a lot of my family lives in Glenboro or close to," Ruston explained.
"If something were to happen to them, I’d want them to get to the hospital as quickly as possible."
Tracy Rimmer, chair of the Health Action Committee, said Ruston approached her in February about raising money, and they started brainstorming.
"I can’t tell you enough good things about this young lady," Rimmer said. "In small communities there tends to be a core of people who are the heart of that community. They show up for everything, they volunteer for everything, they can be relied on for everything.
"Michelle is 17 years old and she’s already one of those people."
On April 8, Ruston organized a movie marathon at the Glenboro Gaiety Theatre, a card, crokinole and pool tournament at Raystone Centre and a special lunch and supper at the Glenboro branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, where a meat draw and rainbow auction were held.
Combining the money raised at those events and other donations, Ruston, who called her day of events, "Brighter Futures," raised around $6,000.
"Most of our community came out, it was really nice," Ruston said.
Glenboro is clearly impressed by her work.
Ruston has received a lot of congratulatory notes, including from one neighbour who sent her a card to say thanks.
All money raised will be directed toward recruitment efforts to staff the Glenboro Health Centre. Specifically, they are seeking $100,000, which would essentially be Glenboro’s way of "sweetening the deal" for a prospective doctor.
Since the group’s formation last year, it has obtained a two-bedroom apartment, which is used by locums temporarily in town to work at the hospital.
Not keen to rest on this project alone, Ruston has since donated $100 of her own money and challenging other hospital supporters to do the same.
Any further donations can be made at the Municipality of Glenboro-South Cypress office.
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