Over the course of the last school year Windsor Secondary’s Interact Club, a Rotary-sponsored service club in North Vancouver, raised an incredible $5,000 for Seva Canada. We asked Cameron Carley, the club’s Co-President, what they did to raise the money and why the club chose to support Seva Canada.
1. Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about Interact Club?
Interact is an international and local service group for ages 13-18. Our sponsor is the Rotary Club of Lion’s Gate. Every year we tackle an international goal and a local goal. Our club is comprised of approximately 30 general members and 12 executive members and anyone may join at any time.
2. What about Seva’s work inspired you and the rest of the club?
To pick our international goal, the executive team brainstorms three different causes to choose from, and the general members take a vote. We really liked knowing that if we raised $5,000 we would be providing 100 cataract surgeries. The concept of $50 per cataract surgery worked in our favor because for one of our fundraisers, Entertainment Night, we sold tickets for $10. We recommended that people find four other friends and together you could fund a cataract surgery. It is an amazing cause that inspired passion and drive within our club.
3. How did Interact Club raise funds to support Seva’s work preventing blindness and restoring sight?
We had bake sales, sold candy grams around Christmas and Valentine’s Day with profits going to Seva.
We also hosted two different awareness projects: We Go Silent and We Go Hungry. To participate in We Go Silent, a student must pledge a minimum of $10, which means that they have to go without any communication for 24 hours. This includes talking, social media, texting, sign language, hand signals, and anything else that is considered to be communicative. This raises awareness for those in developing nations (mainly women) that do not have a voice in their community. We go silent to speak their story. We Go Hungry works very similarly. Students pledge a minimum of $10, but this time, they go without luxury food items for a maximum of 24 hours. We provide rice for the participants at lunch, but otherwise, they are without food, only water.
This year, we also teamed up with our local Cobs Bread. Cobs Bread has something called a "Doughraiser," in which if a customer mentions Windsor's Interact Club, then a percentage of their sale goes towards our club.
Our last fundraiser, and easily our most successful, was Entertainment Night. This is Windsor's only talent show that showcases student talent. This year we had singers, dancers, miming, bands, musicians, and a show-stopping circus act. On silks hanging from the ceiling, a young woman performed tricks approximately 40 feet off the ground. It was an incredible performance that had everyone on their feet at the end. To raise money, we sold tickets, put on a bake sale, sold concession items, and put on a silent auction. We raised $2,624.24 from this event.
4. What advice do you all have for other potential fundraisers or clubs who are thinking about getting involved with Seva?
One main advice to other fundraisers or clubs that are planning on raising funds for Seva is to really emphasize the fact that it is only $50 for a cataract surgery. If you get groups of friends together and they all chip in some money, then this does not seem like a lot. Also give the donors information about the organization. Explain the benefits, the people, how it is done, absolutely everything. No one is going to donate money without the full story behind it. It is an amazing cause and people will be very conscious of that.
5. What has been Interact Clubs’ favourite part about raising funds for Seva?
Windsor's Interact Club's favourite part of raising funds for Seva has been volunteering our time. However cheesy it may sound, there really is that special feeling to take time out of our day to help make a difference. As students we often think that we cannot make a difference in our community, let alone the world. Through Interact and Seva, we give our members the feeling that they can make a difference and that their contributions do matter. For the executive team, it is an entirely different feeling to facilitate this entire process. The words pride, excitement, and joy come to mind. Seva has provided us with this amazing opportunity.
Thank you Cameron and Interact Club for all of your hard work. Thanks to you, 100 people will have their sight restored and when more people are able to see and lead healthy, productive lives, entire communities have a chance at a better future.