FFHS group out to make a difference

Heather Latter

“The Mob” (Northern Ontario Mobilizers)/Saving Faces group at Fort Frances High School is spreading the “Me to We” philosophy of creating positive social and environmental impacts in our local and global communities by focusing on several “Free the Children” campaigns.
Not only are they raising funds for those suffering from the drought in East Africa and to help build a school in Sierra Leone, they also are taking part in the “We Day” event in Winnipeg today (Nov. 23) and will be participating in the “Vow of Silence” next Wednesday (Nov. 30) to stand in solidarity with children who are silenced by poverty, disease, and exploitation.
The group also recently completed its annual “Hallowe’en for Hunger” campaign, where 33 students collected more than 2,100 non-perishable items, which then were donated to the local Salvation Army food bank.
Currently, they are promoting the Rafiki Friend of East Africa Chain—a stretchy glass-bead chain that can be worn as a bracelet, anklet, or necklace—which they will be placing orders for soon.
“They are $10 each and all the money goes straight to Somalia and Kenya, where they are experiencing the worst drought in 60 years,” noted Dexter Fichuk, a Grade 11 student and leader of The Mob/Saving Faces group.
He explained the blue-and-green beads of the limited edition chain symbolize the abundance of earth, water, and life.
“And the chains are made by women in Kenya, and gives them a sustainable job and a fair wage year-round to ensure they are able to purchase food and other necessities for their families,” Fichuk said, adding the purchase of a Rafiki chain will help feed a child for a month.
Those interested in purchasing a Rafiki chain, and helping to support Free The Children’s short- and long-term efforts towards East Africa drought relief, can e-mail Fichuk at dexterfichuk@gmail.com
Meanwhile, the group also has been raising funds for the “Brick by Brick” campaign to help build a school in Sierra Leone to bring education to children who never had the chance to go to school before.
The average cost to build a school there is about $8,500. And with each “brick” costing $800, the Fort Frances High School students are hoping to raise enough to build a whole school.
“We’re doing more this year,” noted Fichuk, saying they will hold bake sales and other fundraisers to help garner the money for this campaign.
As mentioned above, 36 Fort High students have been participating in Free The Children’s “We Day” that brings together youth to celebrate the positive actions they are taking, and to build the momentum of the movement of young people making a difference in their communities and around the world.
“We are really lucky to get to go to it,” Fichuk had said last week, adding he expects the students will bring a lot back to the community.
He explained the day-long event ignites a year-long program called “We Schools in Action.”
In cities across Canada, including the event in Winnipeg today, inspirational speeches and performances are offered to young leaders. Students then bring that energy home to take action on local and international issues all year long.
Some big names are involved in the event, such as Mia Farrow, Al Gore, Paul Martin, and the cast of “Degrassi,” as well as musical guests Hedley, Shawn Desman, Down With Webster, Neverest, and Sierra Noble.
Fichuk said as part of the annual drive to give back at “We Day,” old used batteries were being collected. Not only does this keep batteries out of landfills, but it allows the zinc inside to be recovered and reused.
In fact, he noted the zinc from recycled batteries collected at “We Day” will be turned into edible tablets and delivered as a life-saving treatment around the world.
“Just one ‘AA’ battery has enough zinc in it to save the lives of six children,” Fichuk stressed.
Upon their return home, the students will be preparing a float for this Saturday’s annual “Parade of Lights,” then will be getting ready for their “Vow of Silence” campaign Nov. 30.
In addition, Fichuk hopes to expand the “The Mob” to other schools across the region.
They are planning a presentation in hopes of expanding the group to Falls High School across the river, as well as to Atikokan.