“Travel changes you as it should. It leaves a mark on your memory, your conscience, your heart and your body. You take something with you and hopefully leave something good behind. Antoine Bourdain.
Lily Holmes, a senior student at the Seven Summits Center For Learning, uses her compassion paired with a flair for leadership to shed light on the causes of collaborative solutions.
Many childhood journeys shaped this altruistic and empathetic teenager. She has traveled to over a dozen countries with her family, interacting with many cultures and diverse ways of life. This exhibition opened his mind, broadened his global vision, facilitated compassion and empathy, and enriched his ideals.
“Through my travels, I’ve learned about different cultures and met all kinds of interesting people,” Holmes said. “As a result, I gained a better understanding of the world and developed a strong sense of empathy. The well-being of others is always my top priority. Therefore, my ambition is to work hard and contribute positively to the well-being of others.
Holmes’ leadership skills actively help him develop a sense of community. During the 2022 school year, Holmes served as student council president for the Seven Summits Center For Learning.
Holmes led many social justice projects at the Seven Summits. For example, as organizer of the Dressember fundraiser, for the past three years Holmes has organized and orchestrated an awareness campaign to raise funds to help fight human trafficking.
In support of his personal view, Dressember’s collective vision is a world in which everyone is free.
“Last year, I started by presenting to the student council the injustice of human trafficking and the purpose of the Dressember program,” Holmes explained. “Believing in the inherent dignity of all people, the month-long fundraiser raised awareness and funds using an innovative, forward-thinking lens.”
Holmes also became an ambassador to promote a peer anxiety support program with Cam’s Kids. Once again, Holmes has shown her commitment to helping others in need by offering peer mental health support.
“I like to get involved and create awareness on many issues. Locally, I support smaller initiatives and hope that in the future, living in a bigger place, I can help organize bigger events to achieve better results.
Holmes’ action plans extend to include environmental concerns. His experience in different parts of the world broadened his horizons to global ecological issues.
She became an organizer of the Climate Action Forum with the Basin Youth Network. This provided a unique climate leadership opportunity for young people to connect, learn and be inspired by the many options and pathways for climate action.
Holmes acknowledges that “listening to the stories of others helps enrich the experience and glean a better understanding of global struggles and climate issues.”
For Holmes, travel has facilitated altruism, philanthropy and empathy by being able to see the world through the eyes of others and feel their daily experiences on a visceral level.
As a bilingual student, Holmes is used to switching from one language to another and, therefore, to changing perspective. Bilingualism and travel, particularly early in life, have been shown to increase the capacity for empathy. Becoming an active and sympathetic listener helps to better respond to people’s wants and needs.
Holmes has been accepted and plans to attend UBC in September to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is confident that her journey will lead to a career as a caregiver, as will her extracurricular activities along the way.
“My goal one day is to practice as a psychotherapist,” Holmes added. “People today have lived through a global pandemic, major human rights protests, climate change, political instability and war over the past two years. Events like this leave traumatic scars all over everyone.
“A therapist can help most people. No matter where life takes me, my goal is to help people, even in small ways. I sympathize with and feel empathy towards all people. I express my concern by getting involved and working to spread the word to create justice, thereby making a difference.