author: ethan williams | contributor
Campbell students bring awareness to social issues
“You can make a change in the world. You can help others in need.”
That was what Campbell Collegiate Grade 9 student Mia Braun took away from the Regina Public Day of We at the school on Friday. The event is an annual kickoff that the school’s Me to We Team puts on during each October to get students involved in fundraising for their local and global communities.
“I think it’s about helping others who need the help and give them a home or a friend that they need,” Braun continued.
The Campbell Me to We Team, comprised of 150 members from Grades 9-12, is affiliated with Free the Children, a world-renowned outreach organization founded by activist and public speaker Craig Kielburger. Yashica Bither is one of the executives on the team and spoke about the group’s previous work.
“These past couple of years, we’ve been raising money for countries in need and helping to break the cycle of poverty,” stated Bither.
She says that the group works with five different “pillars” designed by Free the Children to help communities. They include food, water, education, healthcare, and opportunity. The group has already chosen where they want their support to go, but have yet to decide on a pillar.
“This year, we decided to support Tanzania, and we’re letting the school decide between the opportunity and health pillar,” said Bither.
During the event, students watched presentations from the two pillars, and then voted on which pillar they wanted to support. From there, they will be fundraising to support the people of Tanzania.
The keynote speaker was Canadian journalist and author Drew Hayden Taylor, who spoke about the power of story. He also encouraged others to follow their dreams, citing his own story of growing up wanting to be a writer.
“I went up to my mother and told her I wanted to be a writer and she said, ‘Why do you want to be a writer? It’s not going to get you anywhere.’ I ended up sending my mother postcards from India, Australia, New Zealand, China, Fiji, Mexico, The Bahamas, Cuba, England, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Germany, The Czech Republic, Austria, France, Italy, and Spain. She had said, ‘It won’t get you anywhere,’ but it even brought me here to Regina,” said Hayden Taylor.
According to Bither, the idea to invite Hayden Taylor came from an English class.
“We were looking for an inspiring Native speaker, and I was in English class one day, and my teacher told me we were going to learn about Drew Hayden Taylor. We read one of his plays and I was so inspired by his work because he uses humour in a way that lightens up such a serious topic and allows everyone to talk more about it rather than keeping it a serious topic,” said Bither.
Along with their global initiative, the Me to We Team will also partner with the Campbell Social Justice Club and Student Leadership Council for two local fundraisers. Social Justice will take on the We Scare Hunger campaign, a school-wide food drive idea that also originated from Free the Children. The Student Leadership Council will also be raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
All of this is certainly opening up students at Campbell to the realities of what it is like to live in underdeveloped countries. Anna Gaine, a Grade 9 student, talked about her eye-opening experience.
“[I learned] how bad it is in the other countries and how much others can make a change,” stated Gaine.
When asked if she was inspired to go out and create change in the community, she had a simple, yet clear, statement.
“Definitely,” said Gaine.
For Mia Braun, the answer was the same.
“I’m going to go out and if I see anyone in need, I’m going to help them.”