Hello everyone! Three days left until I board a plane to Toronto for Nationals, can you believe it? The past two weeks have been chock-full organizing clothes, preparing documents, finding sponsors and attending events. This past Friday, July 24th, I held my largest event when friends, family and acquaintances freed their night for my “Free the Night” social! Funds raised through this event are being donated to Free the Children, the Miss Teenage Canada organization’s charity of choice for delegates competing at Nationals this year. In addition, I partnered with Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for this event as part of my platform, to ensure drinking and driving would not occur as a result of my fundraiser. Both Free the Children and MADD are wonderful organizations, which I believe everyone should know more about.
What is Free the Children?
Free The Children is an international charity founded Craig Kielburger in 1995. Craig was only 12 years of age when he begun developing the charity, one that is now one of the largest charity networks in the world! Craig’s determination to make a change after reading about another boy, Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani child who was forced into bonded labour at the age of four then murdered at the 12, proves the notion that youth truly can make a difference!
Free the Children’s key values:
- Believes in a world where all children are free to achieve their fullest potentials as agents of change.
- Believes today’s generation of young adults should switch their attitudes from “me” to “we”.
- Working to break the cycle of third-world poverty through their holistic and sustainable development model, “Adopt a Village”, which focuses on multiple methods of community development.
Why should you donate to Free the Children?
- If you have running water, a home, bed to sleep in and food to eat, you have more than most people in the world today. Not just you and your friends, but everyone, should be able to have the basic necessities life requires.
- A small act goes a long way. You should feel good knowing that by choosing to skip out on Starbucks once a week and donating to FTC instead, you could be providing a child with a school kit, or a family with a bundle of baby chicks that would grow, produce eggs, and provide a source of sustainable income for a mother and her family.
As eighteen is the age of majority in Manitoba, I was easily able to have a social in order to raise funds for Free the Children. The event took a lot of organizing, but moved along smoothly thanks to Kristi Stoesz and her team at Whiskey Dix Nightclub, who gave me the venue, designed, and printed my social tickets free of charge! We came to the agreement that I would keep all money I raise through advance ticket sales, while Whiskey Dix would receive at the door as well as liquor sales. As alcohol was being served at the venue, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about my platform, discussing the dangers associated with drinking and driving.
Why is this my platform?
My platform is something I am sincerely passionate about. I’m sure that at one point or another, as teenagers, we have all thought we were invincible. I know I did. So did my friend Alex. Last year, we went to a social gathering out near my friend’s cabin. Instead of leaving when we did, Alex chose to stay longer. Later that night, he got into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver. The driver took a turn going 160+ km/h, and rolled the car 3 times,landing it in a water-filled ditch. Though, thankfully, no one was killed, the accident left Alex in a medically-induced coma, followed by a long period of recovery time. I do not want anyone to have to experience the emotional trauma he, his friends, and family were put through during this horrific time, which is why I believe it’s so important not to drink and drive. Mother’s Against Drunk Driving is an organization that I’ve begun volunteering with in the recent months, as they’re on a mission to end impaired driving, and help victims affected by this crime.
How did I represent my platform at the social?
According to Stats Canada, the number one excuse for teenagers caught drinking and driving is “I had absolutely no other way of getting home”. Because of this, I came up with the campaign I call #ArriveAlive. Using the slogan “Arrive Alive… Don’t Drink and Drive”, I printed off business cards with three local taxi companies, after receiving approval from their head offices. Thank you to Spring Taxi, Duffy’s, and Unicity Taxi for supporting me and my platform! As guests walked into the venue, their social ticket was exchanged for one of these business cards. In addition, the bathroom attendants agreed to hand out the cards to guests using the facilities, as those who came without a pre-purchased ticket would not receive one at the door! I’m proud to say that an approximate 100 business cards were handed out that evening. Though it would be their responsibility to hail a taxi, I felt content knowing that guests at least had a sure fire way of contacting one.
“Free the Night” was a great success, as I raised my goal amount for Free the Children fundraising. It was filled with fun and friends, who’ve been some of the best supporters throughout my Miss Teenage Canada journey. I am proud of the way I promoted my platform through my event, and truly hope that the next time one of my older readers picks up a drink, they’ll put down their keys.
Until next time,