Tears of joy and smiles on the faces of the beneficiaries of the 67 Kids to School project inspired Stuart MacDonald (18) to go the extra mile in helping needy people.The Grade 12 learner of Sacs in Newlands says it is heartbreaking to see children from disadvantaged areas struggling to cope with schoolwork due to different social reasons. That’s what made him decide to dedicate his time to making a difference through the project.He says: “The smiles and tears of joy from the kids we helped will remain in my memory bank forever. The innocent children, whom we assist and support, are living in poor housing and living circumstances. The hygiene and crime in townships are extremely bad. Our day-to-day problems were thrown out of the window.”Stuart is one of the four members of the project team that won this year’s Lead SA Youth Heroes Award in the Western Cape.His team is now finalists in the national competition to be announced later.“Being a Youth Hero has given me an opportunity to help spread our story and help out more people in need. “It has been one of the biggest eye-openers that I have ever experienced. It showed me how lucky I am to have had the privileges I have and to attend a school like Sacs for 12 years.” The project helps 67 new Grade 1 learners from disadvantaged backgrounds with school uniforms, schoolbags and stationery.“Being part of 67 Kids to School will always stay close to my heart,” he says.“At first I was quite surprised that we won because a lot of people do amazing acts of kindness in the greater community and to be chosen out of all the heart-warming stories is a massive privilege. It is a huge honour to become a Youth Hero. I see this award as an added bonus to what we have done.” The learners also work with Living Hope by providing tutoring for Grade 6 to 9 learners in Mathematics and Science at Masiphumelele High School on Friday afternoons. They have also donated funds to victims of the Imizamo Yethu fires.Stuart describes himself as a passionate and positive person who works hard to achieve his goals and is keen to make a difference in the lives of other people. He plays first and second team rugby and has a level 3 qualification in first aid. He wants to study for a BSc degree in Property Studies at UCT next year.