Five Montreal-area Cegeps are pleased to announce that they raised more than $21,803 for Free the Children, a charitable organization whose mandate is to empower youth to become socially engaged.

The funds were raised as part of an initiative launched by all five Cegeps of the Coalition of Anglophone colleges (COAC): Vanier, Dawson, John Abbott, Marianopolis and Champlain. All of the money that was raised will be used to build a school in Kenya, Africa.

“What began as a smaller initiative from Vanier College to fundraise to build a school in Kenya then grew into an amazing partnership between all five Anglophone Cegeps in and around Montreal. This is a great representation of how much we can accomplish when we take action together. Free the Children’s vision is to shift the world from an individual perspective “ME,” to a collective effort “WE,” in order to empower each of us to make the world a better place. It is wonderful to know that these young adults are invested in making a difference in the international community through our Adopt a Village program,” said Anne Ethier, Director of the Montreal We Day and Free the Children office.

“We felt the need to participate in this initiative because it really was a win-win for everyone. Our students got to enjoy an amazing night and celebrate another semester done and our union was able to double its investment in the party and turn it into a massive charitable donation to a wonderful cause that is near to all of us in student politics: access to education,” said  Kevin Slezak, Chairperson, Dawson Student Union (DSU).

“I believe a lot in student solidarity and cooperation between the Student bodies of Cegeps. Working together on this project we were able to create an event that was much larger and more successful than anything we could’ve hoped for individually. I hope that students will begin to demand more of their Student Unions and take more initiative in student life and discovering just what their Student Governments can offer them during their short time at Cegep,” said Brendan Fitzgibbon, Events Officer of the Vanier College Students Association (VCSA) 2014-2015.

“The only way to escape the personal corruption of praise is to go on working.” said Andrew Liberio, Vice-President External of the VCSA 2014-2015.

“Getting involved with the organization of Springfest was important to me, and to COAC as a whole, because it was a genuine effort for students to get that chance to help other students across international borders. Together, we reached a new level of student empowerment.” said Melisa Demir, Vice-President External of the Marionopolis Student Union (MSU), 2014-2015.

“Living in Canada, we all know very well the opportunity that a good education can bring. It is my hope, that this new school may provide opportunity to those who need it. Education teaches us to question, to hope, and to dream. Education is what unites us all, no matter which continent we live on.” said Matthew Kocherha, Vice- President External of the Student Union of John Abbott College (SUJAC), 2014-2015.

“It is still astonishing to me how the idea of uniting five cegeps for a humanitarian cause has positively impacted so many lives and has made such a huge difference in redefining the term fund raising. This could have never been accomplished without the support of our students and we are extremely proud of how this project carried itself out. We hope that students from all over Montreal become more involved in charitable events and that they are aware of their capabilities in creating something even bigger!” said Michael Chiribau, Vice-President External of the Champlain Student Association (CSA), 2014-2015.

Free the Children is an international charity and educational partner. The organization is unique in Canada as it operates collaborative programs both at home and internationally.

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