GAZETTE, MONTREAL, THURSDAY, JUNE 1, 2006
They set out to make a difference, and they
Vanier students raise cash to build school in Kenya
KAREN SEIDMAN - THE
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
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
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,"
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 www.generationforchange.com.