Westmount hosts We Create Change Tour

Nathan Liewicki
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Over $10,000 raised to build Kenyan school

Beats blasting from speaker apparatuses created an environment of electric energy in the Westmount School gymnasium early Tuesday morning.

Beats blasting from speaker apparatuses created an environment of electric energy in the Westmount School gymnasium early Tuesday morning.

And that was even before close to 400 students from four Prairie South School Division schools – Westmount, Sunningdale, John Chisholm and Avonlea – took their seats.

“You could tell the energy in there was crazy awesome and we loved it,” Hannah Alper said.

Alper, an 11-year-old activist, joined Me to We motivational speaker and Free The Children ambassador Spencer West and the band Neverest at Westmount for the first of two Saskatchewan stops on the We Create Change Tour.

An initiative of Free The Children, the 10-week, 90-stop tour spanning nine provinces, visited the Friendly City to celebrate the incredible actions students have undertaken to provide education to children overseas.

Neverest performed a few songs for students and West shared his story of struggle, perseverance and conducted an activity with a message aimed at teaching students some of the barriers that people face getting access to education.

Oh, and he has no legs.

Through Free The Children’s year of education initiative, Westmount’s generosity club raised more than $10,000 to build a school in Kenya. As a result, members of the club presented Tuesday’s special guests with a cheque for $10,516.50.

Not to be forgotten were students from Avonlea and Kincaid who both raised more than $1,000 this school year for overseas education projects.

Dan Orescanin, principal of Westmount, said all of the credit belongs to students in the club.

“Every plan they've had has come from the kids,” Orescanin explained. “I've been very clear that our job is to support the kids in whatever they want to do.”

Although the generosity club started out with a handful of Grade 6 students, Orescanin noted that the entire school has jumped on board the club’s idea.

“The whole generosity club has changed the culture of the school,” said Orescanin. “Everyone is really excited about things and they're feeling good about doing things for others, rather than doing things for themselves.”

Alper, a native of Richmond Hill, Ont., told the audience she learned about We Create Change at We Day a couple years ago. The atmosphere that day was unbelievable, so too was the atmosphere at Westmount.

“Every single tour stop is like a mini We Day, which I find amazing,” said Alper.

Although she admitted to missing her friends during the tour, Alper told reporters it is great to talk with kids who also have an urge to make a change, especially considering she spends a lot of time with adults.

“It’s nice talking to kids once in a while,” said Alper. “They realized how fortunate we all are to live in Canada and it's really great talking to my peers because I get to learn more about not only how I can fundraise like them, but having a nice conversation with them.”

She has made a host of new friends through this stage of the tour and plans to continue blogging (callmehannah.ca) and engaging at public gatherings once it concludes in mid-June “because that’s my way of expressing myself.

“I love it,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

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