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A6 April 21, 2011

Orangeville Citizen/Free Press and Economist

Island Lake Public School has shameless idealists By LINDSEY PAPP Staff Reporter

“Today’s young people are the generation of shameless idealists our world has been waiting for,” says a quote from the Free the Children’s website. On Tuesday, students of Island Lake Public School

(ILPS), the shameless idealists of this generation, cheered and applauded their efforts for change at the final ‘Me to We’ assembly of the year. ILPS students beat their initial fundraising goal and as a happy coincidence were able to watch as Ms. Clark, a grade eight teacher, got her head

shaved by her coworker, Mr. Broderik. Amanda Clark, the captain of the ‘Me to We’ club, made a deal with the kids in the club that if they reached their goal of $2500, that she would shave her head. The club more then met their side of the bet, raising $3055.16 that will go to support a rural village in China by giving them the tools they need for a sustainable income. Ms. Clark said that at first the club was only meant for grades seven and eight students, but she was receiving so many requests from lower grades that the club expanded to include grade five and six students. “This is our first year with ‘Me to We’,” said Ms. Clark. “I wasn’t sure how much we would take on, but you can’t tell kids to take it slow and we started taking on more and more.” The students were inspired to take action after they attended the ‘We Day’ in Toronto. Free the Children’s We Day is an event to that starts off a year-long program created to celebrate the ability of

young people to create positive change in the world. The event kicks off

We Schools in Action. Any school that wishes to attend is invited to the

experience provided they follow the We Schools in Action program throughout the year. The event brings inspirational speakers and performances to students, giving them the energy to take home and take action on local and international issues in their schools. “They worked really really hard; they did an amazing job,” said Ms. Clark. “They got kids who weren’t involved with ‘Me to We’ involved by selling them bracelets and taking donations.” At first, only 20 students were involved, but by the end there was an average of 30 to 40 students at every club meeting. ‘Me to We’ is a partner is the Free the Children Foundation, the world’s largest network of children helping children through education. Craig Kielburger, international child rights activist, started Free the Children with 11 of his grade seven friends in 1995 to fight child labour. Since then, more than one million young people have gotten involved in pro-

Photo/LINDSEY PAPP

$2,500 SHAVE: Amanda Clark, captain of Island Lake Public School’s ‘Me to We’ club, made a deal with the club’s members that if they reached their fund-raising goal of $2,500, she would have her head shaved. The club more then met their side of the bet, raising $3055. Here, Ms. Clark sits patiently as Mr. Broderik shaves her head to the raucous applause of a gymnasium full of students at Tuesday’s assembly.

over $1300 selling the bracelets. The spare change jug in the front office earned $105.59. The club raised over $300 with their Pie the Teacher activity. Students were encouraged to donate to ensure that their teacher got ‘pied’. A ‘Loonie Jammie Day’ earned $403.57, and the first annual Used Book Sale, held during the Island Lake Maple Syrup Festival, raised an impressive $900. “I’ve been really impressed with the kids at ILPS’ global consciousness,” said Ms. Clark. “I would never have done what I did today if it wasn’t for those kids, it’s a symbol of how proud I am of them.” Ms. Clark said ILPS will be continuing their effort to raise money for the ‘Me to We’ campaign in coming years. All the funds raised will be going to a rural village in China to help the villagers achieve self-sustaining income. “I am proud to be their teacher,” said Ms. Clark. “I am proud of all of our students.”

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grams in 45 countries. Free the Children have raised money to build 650 schools and schoolrooms in 16 countries. They are educating more then 55,000 children every day. Clean water, health care and alternative income are different things that this organization has brought people in need. Throughout the school year the club organized a lot of fundraisers as well as spent endless hours making bracelets for the Bracelets for Change. The first initiative was ‘Halloween for Hunger,’ where students collected food as well as, or instead of, candy in support of the local food bank. They collected a total of 411 pounds of food items. The next successful fundraiser they participated in was a ‘Toys for Tots’ campaign, with 504 toys being collected by students and distributed by the local police, ensuing a more Merry Christmas for needy families. Bracelets for Change began after Christmas with the Adopt a Village Campaign, the ‘Me to We’ club being able to raise

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Shameless Idealists