Regina high school students raise $15,000 for refugees in 24-hour Awake-A-Thon
REGINA – Some Regina high school students had to stay after school this weekend, but it has nothing to do with detention.
Students grade 9-12 at Sheldon Williams Collegiate traded sleep for pledges, as they attempted to stay awake for 24 hours straight in a unique fundraising effort.
The students are on a coffee-fueled mission, to raise $15,000 for newcomers in Regina.
“I’m so so tired, I feel like I could sleep for a long, long time”.
The 24-hour campaign is part of their “Welcome Home Project”, a grade-12 leadership program that helps spread the word about the current refugee crisis and to raise funds to help those who need it most.
“It’s basically a 24-hour Awake-A-Thon where students join in teams, and they all pledged $100 or more to participate, and we have amazing activities to keep them awake for 24 hours”, student organizer Hannah Perkins said.
From a long list of worthy charities, the leadership class chose a cause with a personal connection.
Leadership student Sheren Jahanpour’s family arrived in Regina from Iran years ago.
She said the help and hospitality her aunt and uncle received from the community is the reason why the class wants to give back.
“My family is from Iran, and when they came over, it’s a totally different culture right. The language is different, and everything is just changed.”
“They got to use the services, programs that the Regina Open Door Society offers, like English classes and it’s really helped them integrate back into society”, Jahanpour said.
To honour their pledges, the students engaged in a variety of activities to stay awake.
“We’ve had everything from dances, to playing basketball in the band room to having a Master Chef challenge, a fear factor challenge […]and a duct tape challenge”, Leadership teacher Samantha Taylor explained.
“Teenagers are very caring individuals and they want to help. If you give them the tools they are willing to go out on a limb and try something huge that they haven’t done before and take a risk. Here we have raised $15,000 for refugees, it’s something that we never thought possible when we started this project”, Taylor said.
The money raised will go to the Regina Open Door Society to provide refugees with English learning language skills to help them transition into their new lives in Regina.
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