Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Caps off for successful student philanthropy project

A fledgling students’ group at Capilano University in North Vancouver has raised more than enough money to house the family of a sick child at Ronald McDonald House for a year.

Ronald’s Helping Heroes, a directed study project in the School of Business, hoped to raise $27,375 by Oct. 18. The sum represents 365 nights at $75 per, the cost of housing a family at the Angus Drive property. As of 7 p.m. on Oct. 15, they had raised $28,683. 

The project was the brainchild of Sian Hebden and Kimia Tajbakhsh, who did fundraising and cooking three times a week at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver over a two-month period last semester to more than satisfy the requirement of a one-day leadership class assignment. 

“We could've gone to the SPCA and walked dogs or fed the homeless, but Kimia and I decided we wanted to do more than that. We started researching charities, we decided we wanted to do something to help children who were sick and Ronald McDonald house fits that,” Hebden said. 

The group has gone classroom to classroom wearing pyjamas, some branded with Ronald’s Helping Heroes, and elicited donations from fellow students, faculty and staff.  

“We're trying to create what is known as a changemaker campus, we're trying to really build a community here of changemakers, people that go out and do projects,” Hebden said. “We want to create things that go outside the four walls of school and reading textbooks. We think it's important to 
engage in the community.”

The Oct. 18 deadline coincides with the annual We Day inspirational conference/concert at Rogers Arena. One of the members of Ronald’s Helping Heroes is scheduled to speak to the full house of Lower Mainland schoolchildren about the project. 

“In an organization there are approvals that have to happen, there hasn't been any drama, these kids are focused on getting it down in five weeks,” said instructor and convenor Carolyn Stern. “They've learned the process of how things get done.”

Stern has been teaching at Capilano for 13 years and student projects normally “stay within the department or stay within the faculty.” 

“I've never seen a student group get an office. They've been given this office to use for this project but they have bigger plans.”

The website, including an explanatory video, is the start of that under the Cap U We Do name. And donations are still accepted.  

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