What is more impressive at age 11: to deliver a TEDxKids talk to an auditorium full of people, to fundraise enough money to provide more than 50 wheelchairs to disabled people in the developing world or to have travelled to Guatemala and want to go back?
Veronika Copping has done all three and more. She and her family are part of Coast Hills Community Church, Surrey, B.C.
Copping is known for her passion to collect juice boxes to buy wheelchairs for children. She started to collect the juice boxes for recycling as a preschooler. Once in school, she saw how many juice boxes were emptied at lunchtime.
Today, five children do the rounds of the classrooms at her school, gathering the boxes for the cash that buys wheelchairs. Copping’s Opa (grandfather), part of nearby Langley’s Jericho Ridge Community Church, does the business through a charity (Hope Haven Canada) to ensure the chairs arrive in Guatemala.
Copping had the chance in 2013 to travel to Guatemala with her mother and Oma (grandmother), to attend a week-long camp for people with disabilities. There, she met some of the recipients of the pediatric wheelchairs she helped to provide. She wants to return.
As for her speaking career, Copping says it was her Grade 2 teacher who offered to work with her on a speech about the juice boxes to her 4-H club. That speech, with many changes and a lot of practice, ended up last January among the 60 presentations young people submitted to TEDxKids@BC.
Copping’s work impressed the judges; she was selected as one of 12 presenters, aged 9–25, who went before the Vancouver TEDxKids@BC talks in November.
Her theme at age 11: “Even as kids, we have a power to make a difference.”
—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent