“A lot of people and animals are in danger,” said Kenna Laberge, during a January 10 interview with members of the Rockland District High School WE Club. “We see a lot of videos about the koalas and kangaroos that need help,” added Freya Kurz.
Laberge and Kurz are working on a fundraising project to support wildlife relief efforts down in Australia. Wildfires are raging in every state of the southern continent, destroying property and bushland, with a death toll in human and animal life that is still climbing.
The RDHS WE Club, with assistance from its teacher-sponsor Alyssa Jackson, is developing a local fundraising project at the school. Laberge, Kurz, and fellow club members Payton Gillis, Maggie Chan, Kadyn Wahay, Timéa Rouse, Maddy Flewitt, Genevieve Michel, and Anas Saffih all agree that they need to do something to help.
“I found it really heartbreaking,” said Laberge. “It’s not happening to us, so we don’t know how it feels. I can’t imagine losing my home in a fire.”
The nine students are organizing several fundraising activities over the next few weeks, including a bake sale in January and a candygram sale in Februrary, along with a general collection of any cash donations, to forward to one of the wildlife relief organizations working in Australia.
Big help from small changes
This is not the first aid project for the RDHS WE Club but it is the first one with an international and global theme. Last year club members did a food drive for the Rockland Help Centre as well as projects celebrating WE Day and other events.
The motto of the RDHS WE Club, and its counterparts elsewhere in Canada and around the world, is the Good Samaritan Rule: “Make small changes to help.”
“People sometimes think that just because we’re young, we can’t do anything,” said Gillis. “But we can. One step at a time, we can change the world.” “As much as we can,” added Rouse.
Proceeds from the RDHS WE Club fundraising efforts will go to one of three wildlife relief agencies active in Australia. They are the World Wildlife Fund, the Port McQuarried Koala Hospital, and the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. The club will also help publicize the efforts of these agencies.