Photo: Marie-France Coallier

Vanier College Students Raise
Cash to Build School in Kenya

June 1, 2006

Vanier students Alessandra Salituri and Christina Opolko were featured in a Montreal Gazette article wherein their efforts to raise $12000 to fund the construction of a school in Kenya were chronicled.

Vanier takes exceptional pride in both of these fine students! You can read the complete article below.

They set out to make a difference, and they succeeded
Vanier students raise cash to build school in Kenya


As group after group filled the corridors of Vanier College with music last month, Alessandra Salituri and Christina Opolko couldn't believe their dream of uniting young people for a worthwhile cause was finally happening.

Their group, Generation for Change - created less than a year ago - had succeeded on so many fronts, it was almost overwhelming for the two Vanier students. They succeeded in promoting young talent in Montreal, raising global awareness through music, bringing Montreal colleges together - and they raised just about enough money to build a school in Kenya.

"What happened at Vanier is that people started to believe they were making a difference," said Salituri, who will study political science and psychology at McGill University this fall. "My goal was to start a Montreal campaign to get youth more involved and to show we're not apathetic. The response was overwhelming."

Opolko and Salituri met last year and discovered they shared an interest in fighting poverty and trying to bring about change in the world.

Salituri was already connected with Free the Children and was organizing bake sales to help children in impoverished countries.

"I said: `Let's make it bigger,"' recalled Opolko, a music student in her third semester at the St. Laurent CEGEP She wanted to organize music festivals to raise money.

So Generation for Change was born and the two approached John Abbott College, which was eager to join forces.

"We wanted our event to be young people doing something for young people," Opolko said.
They decided to make their goal building a school in Kenya, where the indigenous population is in dire need.

"The people there are really discriminated against by the government," Salituri said. "They don't have the same rights as others."

They want to raise $12,000 - $6,000 to build the school and $6,000 to furnish it and pay for a teacher. They already have raised $11,000, and don't expect to have a problem raising the last $1,000. The school will be called the Montreal Generation School in Kenya.

Salituri will spend a month in Kenya this summer helping to build the school. She is going with a group known as Leaders Today.

"My passion has always been fighting poverty," she said.

Last week, about 25 bands played at Vanier for a Live Music Fest, followed by a similar concert at John Abbott in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

Salituri said it was great to see young people coming together to effect change.

"Even more important than organizing the concerts is to make young people realize they can make a difference in the world," she said.

For information about the group, go to