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Inspire: Whether downtown or in Jamaica, Sudbury teen is driven ‘to shape a better world’

‘Helping someone may not change the world, but it will change the world for that person’

Learning and living her cultural roots are important to 16-year-old Darquise Frappier, who incorporates her faith, talents and Métis heritage into everyday life and community.

Born and raised in Sudbury, Frappier’s mother is Huguette Trottier-Frappier, regional manager with MD Management. Her father, Dan, is a cobbler and entrepreneur who owns Heels ‘n’ Soles Shoe Repair. 

“My dad learned his craft working there as a teenager,” said Frappier. “In 1993, he bought the business and recently relocated it to the Montrose Mall.”

Frappier has one sibling, Mélanie-Rose, an older sister in her third year of study at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and currently conducting an eight-month clerkship in Hearst. 

“Mélanie-Rose is looking forward to becoming a family physician with a practice here in the North.”

The Frappier family is active in their New Sudbury neighbourhood, and is dedicated to helping the less fortunate in the downtown core. For the last several years, they extended their volunteer efforts to helping improve the lives of underprivileged children in the Caribbean island of Jamaica.

Despite her young age, Frappier admits she has been a volunteer “for a really long time. Volunteering has always been a part of our lives.”

As a child, Frappier was inspired by her family and the many community initiatives they took part in. 

“My sister and I got involved very young. Our parents paved the way and ensured we had positive experiences. They instilled in us the values and a sense of responsibility to help others. We often volunteer as a family.”

Not only do her parents guide and support their daughters in every volunteer pursuit, they encourage the girls to develop and express their own ideas for improving the lives of those less fortunate than themselves. 

“I think that’s why my sister and I are both so committed to our joint and individual fundraising projects and why we share such a strong desire to make a positive difference in the world.”

As an elementary school student, Frappier helped organize a concert to raise funds for the CTV-Lions Christmas Telethon. “I still remember the incredible feeling of pride going up on stage to help present the money our class raised. That experience solidified my interest in volunteering and encouraged me to come up with ideas for helping others.”

Frappier is also a proud member of the Métis Nation of Ontario and volunteers on a variety of committees. A talented fiddler and singer, she enjoys performing at numerous ceremonies and celebrations. 

“I particularly enjoy taking part in Indigenous cultural and educational events, including fall harvests and Christmas activities.”

During the Christmas season, the Frappier family collected more than 500 essential items, which are distributed to the homeless in our city. 

“Winter is especially tough and with shelters filling up, many people are sleeping on the streets.” 

In late January of this year, Frappier and her team of helpers dropped off their collection of items to two local organizations, Better Beginnings Better Futures Sudbury and Hope for Sudbury, a newly formed group supporting the homeless.

Frappier and her family are also dedicated to helping those in need on a global scale. An impactful experience on their first family vacation to Jamaica in 2016 inspired their desire to help children in that island country.

“We were doing some research in advance of travelling there and I felt compelled to dedicate some time to the underprivileged during our stay. It was enormously sad to witness such poverty and shocking to see how little was available, especially to local children.”

Since then, each visit to Jamaica has been heightened. 

“We’ve expanded from initially giving out school supplies and gifts to 30 children in an orphanage to providing shoes and other essentials to more than 70.” 

On their most recent trip, Frappier and her family were also able to distribute items to children attending a school for the deaf. 

That was in 2018, and the Frappiers yearn for the time when the world returns to normal so they can visit the children of Jamaica once again. 

“We were so disappointed to miss making a trip in 2020, but we hope to return there in 2022.”

Frappier’s efforts and achievements have not gone unnoticed. 

In 2016, at the age of 11, she travelled to Queen’s Park to receive the Ontario Community Newspapers Association Ontario Junior Citizen Award, which recognizes young leaders who are making a difference in their communities.

In 2018, Mayor Brian Bigger presented her with the Governor General of Canada’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, acknowledging her contribution to the less fortunate in Greater Sudbury and abroad.

And, at 14, Frappier was bestowed with the Princess Diana of Wales Award, the most prestigious distinction given to a young person conducting humanitarian work. She was honoured for creating Helping is Caring, a program dedicated to improving the lives of children at Garland Hall Orphanage in Jamaica, as well as for her dedication to improving her own community of Greater Sudbury.

For two consecutive years, in 2018 and 2019, Frappier was acknowledged by the Sudbury Métis Council as a youth ambassador for the Métis Nation of Ontario. As a liaison between local youth and the organization’s Youth Council, her role ensures the voice of Métis youth is heard and supported.

“My parents are my mentors, and my sister is my mentor and idol. I truly believe that working together in service strengthens families and fosters a sense of community spirit that stays with us into adulthood.” 

Despite the seven-year difference in their ages, Darquise and Mélanie-Rose are very close. 

“We have a really good sibling relationship and a strong friendship. We’ve always been there for each other and really enjoy opportunities to volunteer together.”

Darquise Frappier’s Inspirational Words of Wisdom

As young people today, we can make a positive impact on the world. Share your ideas and insights with one another and with the adults around you. We’re the next generation of decision-makers who can shape a better world and a healthier planet for future generations. Volunteering helps you develop strong, confident speaking skills to communicate with a wide range of people, young and old alike. You learn communication etiquette and gain the ability to communicate your ideas clearly and persuasively. Helping someone may not change the world, but it will change the world for that person. No matter how young or old you are, if you have the chance to help; do your part.  

Marlene Holkko Moore is a local communications professional and regular contributor to Inspire is made possible by our Community Leaders Program