BONNYVILLE – Philanthropy is the voluntary act of serving others – the uplifting of the public good. And recently, a group of students from Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS) earned $5,000 for a Cold Lake-based charity – Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (LCFASD) – thanks to their involvement with a school-based philanthropy initiative.
The funding was provided by the Toskan Casale Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative. The program was founded in 2002 by Julie Toskan, and has since provided over $14 million grants across the world.
BCHS teacher Lorelei Gertz-Cummins explained that through the program, groups of students take time to research local grassroot charities in the community.
“The students are expected to visit charities they’ve chosen,” and they would then conduct an interview and create a presentation showcasing the charity, she added.
“The best presentation... who showcases the most need for their charity will win $5,000,” for the charity, said Gertz-Cummins. This year, it was the students who presented about the Lakeland Centre for FASD who impressed the judges most.
Gertz-Cummins commended all the students who participated in the program. Being able to visit the charities in person taught students about the importance of non-profits in the community.
“And how our community is really a much better place for having these charities,” she said.
Gertz-Cummins is grateful to the groups that worked with the students.
“A lot of the students are very nervous about speaking to their charities, because they’ve never really had an opportunity to do anything like this,” she said. Nervousness was relieved as students worked with the non-profits.
Not only did the students have the chance to do good, but they also improved on a myriad of skills, such as their interpersonal skills, and increased awareness and knowledge of social justice and helping others, said Gertz-Cummins.
“The students were engaged, [and] most of them did a really wonderful job... contributing to their group and making sure that they were representing their charity in the best way possible.”