Power To Be team reflects on Shaheen Rabie's contributions

“It is pretty rare for someone to have a natural ability with people, but he has got it,” says Sylvia Storry, Power To Be Community Development Coordinator. “He has a way of bringing out the best in people.”

Sylvia and the rest of the Power To Be team met Shaheen when, as an eighth grader, he enrolled in Wilderness School. During this three-year program youth go on monthly outdoor trips with a cohort of peers. The experiences, which include kayaking, camping and hiking, are designed to help youth need extra support in their lives gain the skills and self confidence they need to foster positive relationships in all areas of their lives. Between grades 8 to 10, Shaheen committed approximately 3,000 hours of his time, over weekends and summer break to the program.

As an alumnus of Wilderness School, Shaheen signed up for the Summit Program. Over six weeks, he committed a further 20 hours of his time to develop his leadership skills and ultimately take on an internship with Power To Be. In this new role he is a volunteer and mentor with other Wilderness School cohorts and the Adaptive Recreation program, which provides opportunities for youth and families living with a disability or barrier to experience outdoor adventures.

“His is the first hand to reach out to ask how he can help you,” Sylvia says.

“From day one he embodied the program,” adds Sarah Glenn, Power To Be logistics coordinator. “You never had to ask him to do anything, he just stepped up.”

She has watched him seamlessly transition from embracing his own Wilderness School experience to going above and beyond to help other participants get the most out of their time on program. Since joining Power To Be as a volunteer this year, he has given approximately 120 hours of his time to support participants in both program areas.

“He gives selflessly and truly, genuinely cares about people,” Sylvia says. “He is really connected to the world around him and through an authentic curiosity he builds relationships with people.”

That can mean encouraging younger participants to engage on program, or making someone feel comfortable trying a new activity. He leads games and supports the staff through each program he attends, Sylvia says. Known as reliable and curious, Shaheen has a natural way about him that encourages people to be their best selves.

“Our participants are very sensitive to energies and when you get somebody who is not as present or authentic, they definitely notice it and as a result they may not be as much of themselves on program,” says Ko Zolotas, Power To Be program facilitator. “Shaheen’s energy is very positive, very calm and strong. He is curious and keen to learn. There are not a lot of people even near his age that have those qualities.”

He isn’t the kid who received a lot of attention in high school through sports and academics, Sylvia notes, adding he is very bright and true to his values. Winning an award that acknowledges his commitment to building community would mean a lot to him.

“He has made such a difference for other people,” she says. “I don’t think he even realizes the impact it has had on him.”

From everyone at Power To Be, we want to share a congrats to Shaheen and all of the amazing recipients of this year’s United Way Youth Now Awards!