Community-minded teens will star in a nationwide commercial that was shot at an Abbotsford seniors home on Monday.
The ad is being directed by Randall Peters, who grew up in Abbotsford and still lives here. As a television commercial director for Telus, he was tasked with highlighting the thousands of dollars the company gives to charities.
It will be a series of four ads highlighting different causes. The commercial he is creating in Abbotsford features the service program Free the Children which Telus supports. We Day, a project of Free the Children, is the largest philanthropic gathering of young people in the world, and has hosted speakers like President Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, iconic athletes and rock stars. It has been held each year since 2007, takes place Oct. 18 in Vancouver and in six other Canadian cities on different dates.
“The event is really about getting kids to give back to their communities, and get involved,” explained Peters.
To show examples of youth getting involved in their city, he chose to feature the work of kids from Abbotsford Traditional high school’s leadership group. Peters will highlight the work of six kids – two who worked at the Abbotsford Food Bank, two who spent time with the Abbotsford Hospice Society, and a pair who volunteered for Menno Hospital Residential Care.
He pitched it to the Telus marketing department, and said they loved it.
“These are amazing examples of teenagers who are giving back,” said Peters.
He said it will be an authentic ad, using real people rather than actors, as the teens interact with the seniors at Primrose Gardens, the newest housing in Menno Home.
The television spot will run nationally in 30-second spots, and the students were interviewed for a longer piece that will run on the web.
Peters’ crew constructed a mock food bank at Menno Home to shoot students Albel Deol and Anna Goertzen Loeppki stacking food.
Chelsey Perry and Navreer Brar volunteered at Menno Hospital. Ivneet Sohi and Sophia Bhatti worked with the hospice society, speaking with patients. A seventh student, Aisha Kaay, will be involved in a We Day segment of the commercial.
Johi said she spent two hours every Saturday, for the past three years, visiting with patients.
“They loved talking about old Abbotsford times, and the war… it was interesting.”
Perry said the patients visibly perk up when they get a visitor. She likes to talk with them about their families, and answer the questions they ask about this pretty teen who comes visiting.
“You try to make their day,” she said. “They seem so much more cheerful.
“It’s a great experience,” said Perry. “Not everyone gets to be on TV.”