The Spread the Net Student Challenge is well underway! Schools across Canada are working hard to raise funds towards life-saving bed nets. Rachel, is a student from Handsworth Secondary School. She is sharing her Spread the Net Committee’s experience getting their campaign started, their motivation, and how they got the Prime Minister involved!
At the beginning of the school year, 15 Handsworth Secondary School students and a student teacher gathered in a blue, old chemistry classroom for one, sole purpose: to join the Spread the Net Student Challenge. Some people came because they wanted to join a club, some people were simply interested by the name ‘Spread the Net,’ and some seemed determined and fully committed already. As a younger student myself, I was a little intimidated by all the older students, and I honestly had no idea how this small team would come up with ways to create events to raise money for mosquito nets.
Thankfully, Handsworth Secondary School’s Spread the Net Committee consists of dedicated, passionate students who came together to participate for something bigger than themselves; simply put, this small group has big hearts. Once the committee was established, we got to work right away.
Our committee has really focused on the number 57. Every 57 seconds, a child dies from Malaria. This fact really shocked me; the sad truth is that a child my age could be dying at this moment. With our focus on that important number, we decided to start promoting the cause by creating 57 second videos. We even made one for the Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau, who responded by writing a letter back! These videos really opened my eyes to how students could be engaged and creative when it comes to fundraising events, especially the ones which involved our whole school.
Our fundraising formally began when our student teacher, Mica Prazak, climbed Grouse Mountain five times in six hours to fundraise for Spread the Net. The committee itself began our media campaign in the school by projecting 57 second videos on our hall-way screens. I could say it was a great start and an interactive concept to begin our campaign.
As we continued to receive donations and create videos, our team was planning on a greater event to involve the whole school. We held a volleyball game between the Senior Girls Volleyball Team and the “Teacher All-Stars.” I was worried that students wouldn’t show much interest, but despite my concern, the whole school filled up the gymnasium, cheering for the girls or their favourite teachers. Whether they came down to support the campaign, or just for entertainment, the enthusiasm and the engagement that the school demonstrated touched my heart and gave me hope for our future campaign events.
Malaria was a disease that I knew about, but didn’t hear enough about. Many facts that I learned about Malaria throughout the campaign were heart-breaking; at one point, Sarah from Plan International Canada came and ran a workshop to help us fundraise. I found myself hopeful, because malaria is preventable, and every donation makes a difference to a family somewhere else. This campaign is also significant in our school, since it brought more awareness to our students. Educating the next generation of our society will create a more empathetic and aware generation moving forward.
Our Spread the Net campaign is hitting our halfway point, yet it has impacted myself and my school so much already. I am grateful to take part in the campaign along with these amazing people, and I can’t wait to lead our school to victory in the Spread the Net Student Challenge!
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