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Outlook area youth takes care of the world around her

Impressive young girl is doing her part to make the world a better place for others.

OUTLOOK - Prairie girl Ella-Rae Malinowski, from the family farm just across the South Saskatchewan River up north by Swanson, seems to have a lot on her plate these days.

When she isn't busy on the farm with chores that need to be done or dealing with any of the animals, whether it's the dogs or the cat, or the horses or the sheep, or more likely the prize animals that she's showed at many competitions such as Pete the Meat (the Miracle Maker), who tips the scales at nearly 1400 lbs, she can be found coming up with all manner of ways in which she can help her fellow man.

Ella shows off Pete the Meat, who tips the scales at nearly 1400 lbs. Proceeds from the sale of Pete will benefit next year's Telemiracle event. Photo by Derek Ruttle.

Evidently, it doesn't matter if you have four legs or two; this precocious pre-teen is determined to help the world going on around her and do all that she can to make it a better place for both animals and humans.

Ella, who's only 12 years old, has been dedicated to raising funds year after year for Telemiracle, and it's something that she's been doing since she was four years old. Close to a decade later, she has no intentions of stopping anytime soon.

That said, Malinowski is still very much a kid. She has fun, and she goes to school online via the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre in Kenaston. That fun, though, obviously involves her friends on the farm.

"I do a lot of driving horses, riding horses, and I show a bit of cattle, too," said Ella, who along with her mom Lindsay welcomed this reporter to her home. "We do lots of that!"

Ella's work with her family's livestock has seen her reach some notable accomplishments, including at the Saskatchewan Beef Expo held in Saskatoon in April of last year, where she won the award for Reserve Champion for a Red Angus yearling heifer. In addition, Ella was recognized with a 1st Place showing in the Youth Showmanship portion of the 2023 Canadian Western Agribition last fall, taking part as a Junior Exhibitor.

Malinowski says that any praise being directed her way should mostly go toward her animals.

"I'm really happy and very proud of my animals, especially being from my own herd," she said. "It was my first time showing a heifer, so I'm really proud of my first heifer."

Ella and her family are originally from the Lawson area, located near the town of Central Butte. With a generational herd of cattle at just over 100 years old, incredible care and attention are given to each new arrival on the farm that becomes a part of the family lineage. Since she's grown up in it herself, the livestock industry is something that's near and dear to Ella's heart, and she says that she'll always maintain a connection to it as she gets older, including exploring it as a career option.

"In some way, shape or form, I'm hoping to," she said, touching on her future. "I love that there are so many things you can do in it, like 4-H and things like sheep showing, cattle showing, horse showing, and then there are all the different things on those categories. It's all very cool!"

Switching things back over to Ella's philanthropic efforts, the young girl, who has raised in the neighborhood of $15,000 through her yearly efforts, says she enjoys helping people and even getting to know where donations go.

"Probably that I get to help people of all ages, and sometimes you actually get to meet some of the people," she said, asked what she enjoys most about the process. "It's just fun helping and learning what all the funds can go to. Those kind of things are awesome."

Malinowski's history with Telemiracle dates back to when she was younger and learned all about the ins and outs of the iconic Saskatchewan telethon fundraiser. This gave her an idea, which would see Ella forgo birthday gifts in favor of her guests bringing funds to collect and donate.

"It actually started when I was four years old," she explained. "I found out that there were kids who didn't have toys, so my mom and I went through some of my toys and donated some of them. We had a friend who was a Kinette, and she talked to us about the whole Telemiracle program and so I started it that year by doing 'Toonies for Telemiracle' birthday parties. I did that for four years, and it was a skating party where you decorate cupcakes, and people brought toonies instead of gifts."

Ella believes that it's important to raise money and support initiatives like Telemiracle, no matter what age you are, and if people see younger kids like her donate funds, she hopes that it raises awareness.

"I think it brings a lot of awareness and shows people that no matter what age you are, you can do anything and help anybody with anything that they're going through," she said.

Ella was recognized with an award for Outstanding Youth Philanthropy last November. Photo by Derek Ruttle.

Ella's year-to-year efforts benefitting Telemiracle haven't gone unnoticed, especially by the Foundation itself. This past November, she was honoured with a Youth in Philanthropy award for her outstanding effort, signifying her seven years of fundraising to that point. The young girl was blown away by the recognition.

"I was in pure shock and I didn't really know what to expect," said Ella. "I'm just really proud of myself for the accomplishment I made."

For Malinowski, raising funds for Telemiracle is fun because it gives her a chance to fill people in on what the fundraiser is all about and what the money goes toward. She's hopeful that more kids her age will jump on the bandwagon with her and start raising funds of their own.

"Selling things to people and telling them about it is fun," she said. "Them asking questions is great too, because not a lot of people know about Telemiracle, so it's really cool how you can share everything you know and then they can research it. I don't really see many other kids my age doing this; I think I saw two other kids that were there that I remember. I kind of hope my enthusiasm rubs off on other kids."

Ella's most recent Telemiracle connection was her appearance on this year's telethon, in which she donated a total of $3,633 from selling reusable feed bags and collecting further donations. She plans on making more bags, and then in the wintertime, her and Lindsay plan on going into Saskatoon to help give out sandwiches, hot chocolate and goodie bags to the homeless.

She's not the only one working to benefit others, as her animals do their part too. Every year at the Saskatoon junior ag showcase, Ella commits 25% of the sales of her 4-H steer to Telemiracle, which will include the proceeds from the sale of Pete the Meat.

With so many philanthropic efforts seemingly on the go, Ella and Lindsay decided it was time to keep track of everything and group it all into a social media campaign.

"This year, I just started a non-profit called 'Help To Hope'," said Ella. "I'm kind of running it like the Kinsmen and Kinettes, just friends and family come and we're going to try and go to different events like Bingo nights and barbecues."

"Different fundraisers so we can help out other people that are down on their luck," Lindsay shared.

The pair want to establish Help To Hope with a social media page that Ella can keep track of in order to monitor donations and help spread the word about upcoming fundraising initiatives.

"We need somebody to help us," laughed Lindsay. "We've got a logo and we've got a name, and Ella introduced it at Telemiracle this year to the chair and Kinsmen. Now we really need help with someone to help get the technology going. Ella can keep it updated, but we need to get the page started to get the word out there."

Ella shared that once they establish a social media presence, she has merchandise ideas for Help To Hope, of which the proceeds will benefit other causes.

Lindsay says she's in awe about the things that her little girl does, feeling that such an attitude and outlook on life is going to take her far.

"I'm very proud of her," she said. "She wears her heart on her sleeve and it's going to take her somewhere. This is just the start for her, and I know that."