Whitecaps FC and BCIT are proud to present the Community Captains scholarship program. Harleen Sohi is one of five deserving high school students who have been awarded a $1,000 RESP to put towards their post-secondary education, as well as a Whitecaps FC matchday experience and in-stadium recognition for their achievement.
Harleen Sohi, a recent graduate of Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School, was inspired to become more active in her community after realizing how many people she looked up to were volunteers.
“Growing up, I’ve always had coaches who volunteer their free time and I always thought they were paid,” Sohi said. “Then when I found out they were actually not paid, they were just volunteer coaches... it kind of makes you realize how people in our community are always giving back. It made me want to give back in my high school years.”
Sohi, an active soccer player since the age of 4, decided to give back by volunteering as a soccer coach, just as others had done for her. She has dedicated much of her spare time to coaching kids at her club, Abbotsford Soccer Association, as well as at various soccer camps and programs throughout the Lower Mainland.
“I learned a lot about myself through volunteering coaching,” Sohi said. “Things I never knew, such as, I have a lot more patience than I thought that I did coaching little kids. Relationship skills as well – how to handle tough situations.”
But Sohi recognizes that those small challenges are nothing compared to the daily reality that others may face.
After witnessing homelessness in Abbotsford firsthand, she decided to lend a helping hand by founding “Project Eliminate Homelessness”.
She raised enough money to purchase essentials and give the homeless in her community care kits for Christmas and again in the spring-time. When she still had money left over, she donated the remainder to an organization called 5 and 2 Ministries, which helps homeless with basic needs.
“When I gave my cheque to 5 and 2 Ministries, this woman came up to me,” Sohi recalled. “She had a five-year-old son and he was also homeless with her, which shocked me entirely. She gave me a big hug and she was crying. She said, ‘Thank you so much. You can make such a positive impact in someone’s life with such a little thing.’"
Moments like these make Sohi realize the effect her efforts have in her community, but she never expected to win a scholarship for it.
“I never really thought of being called a ‘Community Captain,’” she said. “It’s kind of rewarding to see all your hard work pay off and it’s kind of a cool name I guess.”
Sohi plans to study business and put her $1,000 Community Captains RESP towards her degree.
For more information on Whitecaps FC and BCIT present Community Captains, click here.