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Gleneagle gifted kids work to build a school in Ecuador

A group of Gleneagle secondary school students is learning the art of fundraising.

A group of Gleneagle secondary school students is learning the art of fundraising.

The Grade 9 students in the Talons program for gifted students have spent the last several months organizing the Kids Helping Kids Swap Meet, set for March 3, and have developed some new skills.

Some are typical of fundraising, such as writing press releases, organizing volunteers, making sponsorship inquiries and collecting money.

Others are skills that are tougher to learn when you're a kid - such as sounding like an adult on the phone.

"I don't want to sound like a 14-year-old asking for money," said Katie Shin, one of the organizers.

One of the ways they've found to get around their obvious youth is to speak in the active voice instead of the passive voice, Shin added. This means making sure forms for securing payment use the words "must" and "should" instead of "will," and speaking with authority on the phone.

Speaking with authority may be difficult for a some young people but these girls are articulate and used to working on their own in the Talons class, which stresses project-based learning and personal inquiry, and integrates curriculum from several courses. Talons stands for The Academy of Learning for Outstanding Notable Students and the class is a blend of Grade 9 and 10 students.

For Talons, the students needed to do a project and Shin, Emily Saint, Bronwyn Vaisey, Jess Stewart-Lee, Alisha Lee and Kim Venn decided to create the Kids Helping Kids Swap Meet. They have teamed up with the school's Me 2 We Club to help raise $8,000 to build a school in Ecuador through Free the Children.

The girls hope to raise $1,000 with the swap meet and there's a good chance they will. They have already pre-sold 33 of the 50 available tables, and are planning a concession offering pizza, juice, coffee and doughnuts (all donated, they hope), and will offer by-donation child-minding with crafts and games for young children.

It would appear the girls have thought of everything. Kim Venn, who is both generally in charge, her team says, and the general, said the group has commitments from volunteers to help with the event - some with special training such as Food Safe and first aid. As well, publicity is in full swing, with an ad campaign in local schools, on the School District 43 web site, local papers and even Craigslist and Kijiji.

The only downside, so far, the students say is all the spam they've been getting in their email and getting enough tables for the event. But they are optimistic that with enough help and support, the Kids Helping Kids Swap Meet will come together in the end. "It's also a good learning experience and we'll already know what to do to get things up and running next time," Vaisey said. "And were having fun at the same time," said Lee.


Gleneagle secondary's Kids Helping Kids Swap meet takes place Saturday, March 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school, 1195 Lansdowne Dr., Coquitlam. There will be up to 50 tables of kid-themed products and gently used goods as well as a craft table for kids, child-minding and a concession. Funds raised will go to build a school in Ecuador. Tables are available but must be booked and paid for before Feb. 20; email if you're interested. Admission to the swap meet is free.

Also: If you are looking for clothing, toys and other items for your children, the next children's swap meet at Poirier community centre in Coquitlam runs this Sunday, Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 630 Poirier St.