The winning team consisted of Annika Hall, Leah Zack, Shaemus Swets and Wonton Zhou. They won $5000 for Victoria Cool Aid. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Victoria Cool Aid Society $5,000 richer thanks to Oak Bay High students

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative has students analyze charities and champion the causes

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is $5,000 richer thanks to the work and passion of Oak Bay High students.

Through the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – a program of the non-profit Toskan Casale Foundation – teams of Grade 11 students identify and research a social issue in the community, then analyze local charities that address those issues before visiting that charity and creating a multi-media presentation to champion the cause to their classes.

“Together this year, our Grade 11 students have made connections with 32 non-profit charities in Greater Victoria,” said principal Randi Falls.

Today (Feb. 9) the top three teams presented their projects for a panel of judges. The team of Annika Hall, Leah Zack, Shaemus Swets and Wonton Zhou won the day for the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

The winners started with the stunning statistic that 670,000 people die annually from drug and alcohol abuse all over the world. Then the group evolved from the statistic, to the human.

“Every one of those people has a story. A mind, emotions, a family and a heart,” the video narrator said.

They did a sit-down interview with Brad, a client who came off the street to sleep in the lobby one day, before discovering the health clinic.

“When I first came to Cool Aid I was really stuck on drugs and stuff,” Brad said. “It doesn’t matter how bad off you are you don’t have to be embarrassed to come here. They don’t judge you, they’re just always there.”

Cool Aid, Brad says, helped him make decisions that brought him from a decade ago living on the streets, to back in his kid’s life. He said that if it weren’t for Cool Aid, he might not be alive today.

“They changed my life dramatically,” said Brad.

Cool Aid offers dental, physiotherapy, counselling and housing for people in need.

With the $5,000 grant, the students suggested, Cool Aid would provide services to people in need with life changing items taken for granted by most: eyeglasses, warm socks, gloves and even cough drops.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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Through the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – a program of the non-profit Toskan Casale Foundation – teams of Grade 11 students identify and research a social issue in the community, then analyze local charities that address those issues before visiting that charity and creating a multi-media presentation to champion the cause to their classes. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

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