|VINCENT MASSEY STUDENTS HOLD AN AWAKE-A-THON FOR MONTREAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL|
MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 8, 2007- A group of students at Vincent Massey Collegiate of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) stayed up all night February 8 as part of a fundraising event for the Montreal Children's Hospital.
VMC's first ever Awake-a-Thon began after school and continued until the following morning. Organized by four Secondary V students, the event involved about 50 students staying up overnight and playing sports, watching movies, and munching on different snacks while fighting the urge to fall asleep.
The idea for a fundraiser came about in November when planning for an economics project. Required to start a business, Josie Corbo, Jaclyn Kochan, Amanda Cinquino and Leah Bedard decided to establish a non-profit organization. In contrast to the other companies started in the class, they wanted to make a difference in their community, rather than make a profit.
In December, envelopes were given out to every student in the school, encouraging them to ask for donations from friends and family members. To date, a total of over $7,000 has been raised for the hospital. Surpassing the goal of $5,000, the collection has proven to be a success.
The Awake-A-Thon, based on other marathon-type events that have raised large sums of money for different causes, was the main incentive. The event was exclusive to the 50 students who have collected the most money. Those invited were eager to stay up all night, knowing that February 9 was a pedagogical day.
Vincent Massey Collegiate has a history of giving back to their community. Three years ago, a walk-a-thon was organized for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and raised over $30,000. The school administration and staff members were very supportive of the idea, and the students were cooperative and enthusiastic.
Managing the event was an excellent learning experience for the organizers. They learned that something which seemed to be a simple idea has actually required a lot of work and planning. From preparing various contracts to contacting sponsors, organizing the event proved to be a challenge.
Corporate sponsors for the event included Bell Canada, Tim Hortons, Inter Marché and Loblaws. The Montreal Canadiens donated a t-shirt autographed by Guillaume Latendresse, which was raffled off in January and raised several hundred dollars. This original fundraising idea has been a success this year, and will hopefully be continued in the years to come.
Michael J. Cohen