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Student aims to make a difference for early childhood literacy

Bella Mackenzie

With a platform for early childhood literacy, a love for reading herself, and goal to help local organizations, Bella Mackenzie is using a recent opportunity to help make a difference in the community.

Bella, a Grade 9 at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, was named 2024 Miss Teenage Red Deer and Miss Teen Overall High Score Alberta in May.

“I just started to compete in pageants this year,” said Bella. “I have been modeling and I thought I would give something new a try. Pageants are helping me reach for something that I believe in, which is my platform that is early childhood literacy.”

She said she has been raising the profile of early childhood literacy, as well as donating books throughout her campaign.

“I’ve been doing some Instagram posts, some in person reading and online reading on my YouTube page,” said Bella. “I also started a GoFundMe page where I have raised money for books to give to families, reserves, and libraries who are in need. I want to help kids the best I can in ensuring they have a great start to reading.”

She added even as a young child she has always loved reading.

“When I heard that some kids don’t enjoy books because they never really learned to read, I thought everyone deserves to have experiences through books, just like I have,” said Bella. “Reading is the foundation of learning and it’s really important. I want all children to learn to read and to have access to books.”

Looking ahead to the immediate future, Bella said she hopes to read to children at some of the local libraries. In July, Bella will also compete in the Teen National Canada Pageant in Toronto.

Following her high school career, Bella said she plans to move to Quebec and pursue a Bachelor of Education specializing in French Immersion. “I hope to move back to Red Deer after my post-secondary education and teach French Immersion Kindergarten.”

To learn more about Bella and her platform, visit Bella’s Literacy Warriors or follow her on Instagram at @Mackenzieelizabellaa.

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