Edmonton's Strathcona High School Kicks Off Canada's Largest Student-led Fundraiser

A fundraising-fixated Edmonton high schools good deeds are about to shatter the $1-million mark with a weekend stationary bike-a-thon.Although the sleep-deprived teens will be within Strathcona High Schools walls for 24 hours, the proceeds of their effort will travel the globe in aid boxes to helps hundreds of families left homeless by disaster or war.This is absolutely enormous for us.

We have massive responses going on right now in Syria and surrounding countries, in Cameroon and Niger with the Boko Haram violence, and now in Fiji with Cyclone Winston, said Stephanie Christensen, executive director of ShelterBox Canada.Pumped Scona students kicked off their Bike2Box fundraising event Thursday with a party-like ceremony employing Nerf guns, a dance-off and a video featuring impressive sand art by Dasha Andriyenko.About 1,200 students on 122 teams will begin pedalling at 9 a.

m. Friday in the schools gyms for 24 hours of thigh-burning fun.The proceeds are going to the charityShelterBox Canada, which assembles and delivers to desperate families $1,200 kits containing a dome tent, blankets, pots and cutlery, tools, water purification tablets and other survival equipment.

The student-organized campaign is currently the largest school-based fundraiser in the world for the aid organization, with nearly $285,000 raised as of Thursday afternoon.These students are absolutely incredible in what theyve been able to accomplish, Christensen said.Last year, ShelterBox Canada raised about $1.

5 million to provide the emergency kits.This is Sconas third bike-a-thon fundraiser and the eighth year of leadership students orchestrating huge drives to benefit a cause they choose. This years total brings their eight-year fundraising efforts to more than $1 million.

Speaking to students, Premier Rachel Notley said she was jealous of their epic sleepover. The cause is a timely and important one, she said.It is without question the case that we have more natural disasters.

We have more weather-based disasters as a result of climate change. We even have probably more man-made conflict as a result of the challenges communities face resulting from climate change, Notley said.Students enrolled in Leadership 10, 20 and 30 classes organize the annual event.

It requires a big commitment beyond class time, teacher Jane Grant said.Grade 12 student Sara Sereda, one of the emcees for the opening ceremonies, said her involvement has brought a wealth of useful skills such as networking and building confidence, along with great memories.I love leadership.

It gives me so much personal growth. I see myself doing something like this in the future.The campaign is accepting donations until 8:55 a.

m.

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