Seven valley charities in the running for $5,000 prize through QMS Leadership class

The efforts of the Grade 9 Leadership class at Queen Margaret's School will yield $5,000 Tuesday for one of seven community charities featured by the 28 participating students.

The Toskan Casale Foundation's Youth and Philanthropy Initiative engages young people in social change and empowers them to participate in the growing of compassionate communities.

QMS has been involved in the program for several years and the charities chosen this year include: Glenora Farm, Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association, Cowichan Violence Against Women, Clements Centre, Cowichan Valley Hospice Society, Community Options Society and Cowichan Valley Basket Society.

"This year we went with groups of four,'' said Carrie Craig, academic advisor at QMS. "It's the way it divided up. The girls have gone out in the community. They're interviewed their charities.''

The idea is to deliver the best of the 10-minute presentations that will take place Tuesday in the Fine Arts Building for a panel of judges that includes two staff members and five students, who make the final decision on the $5,000 winner.

Craig said the class began laying the groundwork for the project in November. But the main work has been done since the return from the Christmas break.

A student from Salt Spring Island was very passionate about Island Women Against Violence and that was the award recipient last year.

The students are all learning to become passionate about their respective chosen charities through the research they've done and the contacts made.

The benefits are also great for the charities, even the six not chosen for the big prize.

"It still builds the reputation of their charities and gets their name out and it could be future volunteers,'' said Craig.

Awareness among the students, who may pass by locations without even realizing the extent of the charities, has also been generated. "A lot of them wouldn't have known they were located there,'' said Craig.


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