For some local students, the first day of school turned into a very early Christmas.
John Vuong, whose Vietnamese parents came to Canada as refugees in 1980 and who is the owner of Local SEO Search Inc., has donated 200 backpacks to five Toronto schools: Queen Alexandra Elementary School, Dundas Junior Public School, Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School and, in East York, Crescent Town Elementary School and George Webster Elementary School.
Not only did Vuong supply backpacks, but he (along with his company and volunteers) also packed them with school supplies, such as writing utensils, pencil cases and notebooks.
“I find joy in giving to people in need,” he said. “Growing up as a new immigrant in Hamilton, I didn’t have much in terms of clothes and school supplies.”
This act of kindness began last year when Vuong donated 80 backpacks to two schools. This year, he more than doubled that amount. It definitely wasn’t easy, he said, but it was all worth it.
“It took us months and endless hours of coordinating with the participating school principals,” Vuong said. “We spent hours purchasing items from retail outlets and enlisting volunteers to help pack the items. But making a small difference is what I enjoyed.”
With the consecutive successes of those donations, Vuong hopes to beat the 200-backpack mark next year.
“This is an annual event that started last year,” he said. “I’m proud to equip students with necessary items their parents may not be able to afford. In 2019, with the continued support of clients and the community, the plan is to donate up to 500 backpacks.”
After accomplishing this donation, Vuong hopes to expand his kindness.
“I want to do more,” Vuong said. “My company and I are also talking about the possibility of funding some students for March break camps or summer camps.
“Now that I own a company, my success has allowed me the ability to impact a greater number of people,” he said. “I am committed to do what I can so our next-generation children know that in Canada, if you stay in school, you can become and do whatever you truly want.”