Eleven-year-old Tara McMahon is better than you. She wouldn’t say that, because she’s charitable and selfless, but it’s probably true. The Grade 6 student at Howard Park Junior Public School is a super-volunteer: In the past four years, she has done the annual Toronto Polar Bear Dip, joined the Starlight Children’s Foundation, participated in the Scotiabank Marathon in support of cystic fibrosis research, volunteered for the Girl Guides of Canada, raised money by climbing the CN Tower, and became involved with an environmental group at school.
“Not all kids her age are this community conscious,” says John van Rhee, program director at Youth Assisting Youth, where Tara has received mentoring for three years. “It makes someone like me wonder why I’m not doing more. She’s an inspiration.”
McMahon was just nominated for Junior Citizen of the Year, an award given by the Ontario Community Newspaper Association. But she’s not stopping there. Speaking with the Bloor West Villager, she shared her plan to support children with cancer next: “If my hair grows by May, I’m going to cut it off—I’m going to be bald.” Despite multiple attempts, The Grid couldn’t contact McMahon in time for publication—she was probably volunteering.