Lakefield College High School, and especially Headmaster David Thompson, really showed their leadership and compassion this week for their massive initiative towards the Haitian relief efforts. Lakefield is a real leader in the community and has a long history of supporting very important charitable initiatives.
Being a UNICEF Child Representative and Ambassador, I launched a fundraising challenge last week to all youth and schools throughout Canada to raise funds for the Haitian relief efforts. Called the “Help for Haiti Challenge,” I’m asking each student to raise a minimum of $100.
I know this may sound like a lot, but five years ago, I issued the “Canada Kids Earthquake Challenge,” where I urged children to each raise the same amount for the Tsunami relief efforts taking place in south-east Asia. The results were incredible – youth raised millions of dollars, which were later matched by the Canadian government.
If mainly grade school children could raise that much money, I think high school students today can do even more. As Winston Churchill once wrote, “You make a living by what you get. But you make a life by what you give.” Most of the funds raised will go to help young Haitians. We have to remember that nearly half the population of Haiti is under 18 years of age, and almost 40% are under the age of 14.
With ongoing relief efforts made possible by your generous donations, there are incredible stories of children being rescued, even three weeks after the earthquake. Tens of thousands have received water, food and medical treatment. All this would be impossible without your support.
To add some incentive, I have agreed – after quite a bit of thought – to have my head shaved in honour of the school that raises the greatest amount of funds. You heard me right! The students from the top fundraising school throughout Canada will hold a public event where they will participate in shaving my head, faux-hawk and all.
However, I won’t be the only one going bald. Our very own Headmaster Thompson has agreed that if Lakefield College can raise at least $35,000 – or about $100 per student – we will get to shave his head right here on campus. Not many Headmasters, principals, or Heads of School could show this kind of spirit. He really is a lot of fun!
Lakefield has already taken action on this challenge and has begun actively fundraising. This week, we’ve dressed down to casual clothes. Using another innovative approach, the school had everyone eat soup for lunch one day, and the savings from this went to the Haitian relief efforts. Lakefield has also developed other bold fundraising plans for the coming weeks. Headmaster Thompson’s leadership was a key factor in the fundraising efforts.
I spoke to Lakefield students earlier this week. Check out the video clip HERE!
UNICEF has achieved much in helping the children of Haiti. To date, 13 plane-loads have landed with life-saving supplies for more than 250,000 children. More are on the way this week carrying tents, sanitation, health, and nutrition supplies.
Although this is remarkable, it still isn’t enough. There are still many young children who are waiting for your help. The people of Haiti have already suffered through decades of political disharmony and poverty. It has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, and education and health care are luxuries to hundreds of thousands of people in the country – and this was before the earthquake.
There’s a saying in Haitian Creole called “Men anmpil chay pa lou,” which means “Many hands make the load lighter.” So I ask each and every one of you today to make the load lighter. You can go to my UNICEF fundraising webpage by clicking here and make a donation to the Haitian relief efforts right now. Let’s not wait any longer. Let’s take action now and help heal a nation.
“Together We Can Make A Difference”