Abeni Steegstra frequently volunteers with church groups helping Chilliwack's less fortunate, an experience that has set the Sardis secondary senior on a new career path. After her university education, she would like to manage development projects abroad in order to help people the world over get access to clean water, education, and other basic necessities.
"I know the problems here (in Canada) are important, but when I think about it, we are literally the kings and queens of the world. We have so much," she said.
Steegstra is starting her global development studies at University of the Fraser Valley this September. Heading into university with approximately $6,500 in community scholarships, she hopes to raise enough funds to finally discover some of the world's developing countries in the coming years.
Locally, she has already reached out in the community. She volunteered for a bottle drive to provide food for homeless people downtown through her church, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran. Steegstra also helped raise about $1,500 as part of Run for Cherish, which funds one Sardis secondary youth to travel to a mission trip abroad in memory of Andrea Cherish. And a few years ago, Steegstra held a unique craft sale to fundraise for a famine in Africa.
She acts in the belief that youth have a responsibility to help strengthen their community.
"It would make things better," she said. "If people don't do stuff, then what's going to change? We grew up here. Why wouldn't we take care of it?"
Steegstra will extend her local efforts to the global scale as part of her career in international development. She already has a firm grasp of what her dream job entails, and believes her organized nature would fit right in.
"I know in international development, the higher you move up the ranks, the more of an office job it is. It's a very organizational job. I'm an organized person. I like leading projects."
She's gotten a taste of program management through organizing school events this year, and discovered she enjoyed leading people.
As an optimistic person who rarely criticizes, Steegstra is set on the path to unite teams of caring people towards positive global change.