At only ten years old, Catherine Okolita is no newbie to the world of fundraising. She’s been doing it for five years. The inspiring youngster started her business Catherine’s Cause in 2013 to support her community in her home town of Fort Qu’Appelle.
It started when Catherine and her mother Caralen visited a local park one sunny afternoon. On arrival, Caralen was disappointed at how dirty the park was. “I told Catherine that we weren’t coming back to the park until somebody cleans it up,” she says.
Later that night, when Caralen tucked Catherine in for bed, the five-year-old proclaimed,
Mama, I am somebody! I can get the park cleaned up.
With that, the determined little girl sprang into action, enlisting the help of other community members to get a park clean up arranged. The success of that project paved the way for Catherine to explore other ways she could give back to her community, including through support of Hospitals of Regina Foundation.
Catherine heard some of the families who have needed the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) tell their stories on the radio. It brought tears to her eyes and sparked her interest in supporting the NICU, through Hospitals of Regina Foundation. She also knew a few children who had received NICU care, including her cousin. She raised funds by making handmade keychains and selling them through her Facebook page, Catherine’s Cause, for $10 each. Between 2014 and 2017, Catherine raised more than $3,000 from her keychain sales.
In 2018, she raised the bar by setting up an online auction and raised an impressive $15,000 for Hospitals of Regina Foundation, in support of the NICU. She presented her cheque (pictured) at the 2018 Z99 Radiothon in Regina, an annual event organized by Rawlco Radio to raise funds for the NICU.
Catherine is a passionate philanthropist who encourages others in her community to give back,” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “She is a remarkable young lady and a shining example of how we all can make lives better for people, right here at home.
Catherine has been named the Foundation’s first-ever Pediatrics Ambassador, so expect to see and hear a lot more from this young dynamo in the months and years to come!
I enjoy doing my best to help out in any way I can,” says Catherine. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too young to start giving back to your community. You can do it!