Free the Children is an organization that was founded by Craig Kielburger in 1995. He believes that young people have the power to change the world. The name of the organization comes from three goals: free the children from poverty, free the children from exploitation, and free the children from the notion that they are powerless to effect change. The girls of Upper School houses Mandeville and Leonard have been supporting this organization for the past few years. This fall, they have been busy with a number of initiatives.
On September 25th, 35 girls from both houses and 20 students from the Lower School traveled to Toronto to the annual “We Day” celebration. This day-long event celebrates the achievements of young people and inspires youth to get involved to effect change. The girls accepted the challenges presented readily and were inspired to organize a number of events this term.
Firstly, Mandeville hosted a casual dress day for Halloween and raised $725. This was followed by a successful food drive on Halloween night where the girls from both houses came together to collect non-perishable food items for our local Community Care in a campaign called We Scare Hunger. This was an incredibly successful event with the girls collecting 2600 lbs of food. Thanks must go to the neighborhoods around Ridley for these families were generous with their donations. It took over 175 volunteer hours from the girls to make this event happen.
With thanks to the Family Guild for providing the opportunity, the girls had a table at the annual Ridley Christmas Market where they sold ladybug hats (Leonard’s House mascot), sold jewelry from the Me to We store, and painted faces to raise funds. This was a successful venture with $325 raised.
The next venture was a dance hosted by the girls to raise funds. One of the challenges suggested by Free the Children is that students arrange social events as fundraising opportunities. The dance was held in Williams Hall (the dining hall at the Lower School) and was a great success. With good music by volunteer student DJ Raj Hemrajani and lots of work by the girls, the dance went off without a hitch. The dance took over 90 volunteer hours to put together and raised over $1730.
The final initiative for the term is Mandeville House’s Christmas Candy Gram sale where students are invited to purchase small sweet treats to send to their friends with a note of holiday greetings. The sales for these are still in progress but seem so far to be quite successful.
The goal of all of this fundraising is to support the Brick by Brick campaign. This is a campaign to build classrooms, provide notebooks and desks, and support teachers to give children the chance to go to school in a safe environment. It takes $8,500 to build a school or a schoolroom overseas and with the efforts of the girls over the last few years, they have nearly met this target.