Incarcerated Young Offenders Give Back to the Community
Students at West View School, a facility that educates young offenders who are currently incarcerated, are looking to give back by fundraising to build a school in one of West Africa’s most troubled countries.
The goal is to raise more than $20,000 to build a school in Mamudia, Sierra Leone, with CAUSE Canada; an international relief and development agency based in Canmore.
A special fundraiser, “Dine for a Difference” will take place this Thursday, with funds going to the project.
Conceived by Tahra Chaudhary, a teacher at West View School, located inside the Calgary Young Offender Centre, Project Africa was developed with the goal of engaging her social studies classroom in an “Adopt-a-Village” program. The vision was steered by a Sierra Leonean student in her class who suggested a group focus on his home country.
After an initial attempt to fundraise with a student-to-student bake sale, which netted around $150, the students realized they would need to do more to build a school. The first attempt provided motivation to think of more creative ways to contribute.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and the Calgary Police Service, who have both been long time partners of the Calgary Young Offenders Centre, were drawn to the opportunity to bring these experiences to the young people and instantly saw merit in the project. Today the project has grown to also include partnerships with Calgary Community Corrections, Sheriffs and Security Operations, Adult Offender Branch and CAUSE Canada.
Every student and staff member at the centre has become involved in one way or another. With the help of those community partners, Project Africa’s young participants have held bake sales, organized a by-donation garage sale, and prepared an art auction, among other innovative fundraisers.
All funds raised by Project Africa will go towards building the school, which will be a part of CAUSE Canada’s child sponsorship program, CAUSE Kids. CAUSE Kids helps children break free of the cycle of poverty, by satisfying their basic right to education and providing a school with meal programs, gardens, uniforms, school supplies, healthcare, infrastructure and more.
As of October 2012, students, staff and community partners have raised $15,000 for Project Africa. Staff, faculty and community partners are currently in the process of planning a trip to Sierra Leone to visit the school once completed. It is important to all those involved that the experience of the school is brought back and shared with the students in the Centre.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is hosting the final fundraiser, “Dine for a Difference” on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012. The event will be a 10-course Chinese banquet with musical artist Vi An Diep and special guest Honourable Teresa Woo-Paw, the Associate Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations.
The event is taking place at Central Grand Restaurant at 1625 Centre Street N.W., and tickets are priced at $50. To secure your tickets today, please contact Chelsey Dawes, of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at 403-237-7476 or email@example.com.
Tahra Chaudhary: West View School, 403-662-3547
Sgt. Clare Smart: Calgary Police Service, 403-428-7979
Christina Carrick: Cause Canada, 250-857-6045
Chelsey Dawes: Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, 403-237-7476
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