Treats, journals and personal care items were in packages created by a local high school students. (LMHF/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Treats, journals and personal care items were in packages created by a local high school students. (LMHF/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley student wraps up kindness in every gift bundle

A high school student took it upon herself to assemble gift bags for residents in a psychiatric unit

Not many people’s Christmas shopping includes a grant application but Grade 12 student Emma Miller was set on getting gifts for people often overlooked during the holidays.

The R.E. Mountain Secondary student in the International Baccalaureate program sought a grant from United Way so she could pick up gifts for residents in Memorial Cottage, the psychiatric unit at Langley Memorial Hospital.

“After my application was accepted and I received the funding from United Way, I connected with Langley Memorial Hospital in hopes I would be able to make some people’s lives a bit brighter by making care packages,” she said.

Each of the 25 care packages included a journal, pens, chocolate, candy, instant lattes, lip balm and lotion “to bring some self love and joy into their lives,” she explained.

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“I am so glad I was able to make a difference, especially in this difficult time. With the residents not being allowed any visitors, I imagine it can get pretty lonely. My goal is to continue this as a seasonal activity to spread as much kindness as I can,” Miller said.

The funding came through United Way’s Local Love program. Memorial Cottage provides intensive psycho-social rehabilitation to 25 residents at a time who require assistance in managing their mental health illness. The residents are 19 or older and receive help to manage their mental health condition and work on developing skills and returning or moving into more independence.

Miller aspires to doing more for people with mental health conditions.

“I am passionate about helping people overcome obstacles that are bringing down their self love and quality of life,” she said. “I hope that along my career and academic journey, I can help many people feel special and loved.”

That includes plans to become a psychiatrist and has applied to Simon Fraser University.

“I feel that mental health is extremely important and is sometimes put in the background in stressful or negative situations,” Miller said. “I hope I am able to shine a light on how important it is to show empathy and kindness to everyone you meet as you don’t know what they are going through. “

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Emma Miller (right) obtained a United Way grant and assembled 25 gift packages for residents of Memorial Cottage at Langley Memorial Hospital. (LMHF/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Emma Miller (right) obtained a United Way grant and assembled 25 gift packages for residents of Memorial Cottage at Langley Memorial Hospital. (LMHF/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Emma Miller assembled 25 gift packages for residents of Memorial Cottage at Langley Memorial Hospital and delivered them recently. (LMHF/Special to the Langley Advance Times)