Students Help Raise $22,000 by Playing Hopscotch

October 18, 2011 - Campus Bulletin

Hopscotch may be for children, but there is nothing juvenile about the amount of money University of Guelph students helped raise recently by getting 850 people to play the game.

Hopscotch 4 Hope, an event organized by two U of G student clubs and three area youngsters, brought in more than $22,000. The event was held Oct. 1 in Eden Mills, Ont., and the final tally was released this week.

The money will go to Free the Children and Right to Play, international initiatives that help children in developing countries. Both organizations have U of G chapters.

U of G’s chapter of Free the Children will use proceeds to help provide water and electricity to a girls’ school in Kisaruni, Kenya.

“I was overjoyed when I heard that $11,000 was going to Free the Children,” said club co-president Natalie Binette. “Having seen the Kisaruni All Girls’ High School in Kenya, where this money will be going, I know how much of a positive impact this money will have. It brings a smile to my face to imagine all of the girls who will benefit from this donation, as they strive to gain a good education in order to lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty.”

Binette added that she felt “privileged” to be part of the event and was inspired by the volunteers.

Right to Play will use the money to support sport and play programs for children in developing countries. "We couldn't be happier about the amount of money raised at the event; it's just overwhelming," said student Erin Glaysher, co president of U of G's Right to Play, one of 20 student chapters in Canada.

"It was a really successful day, and I think everyone learned a little more about Right to Play and Free the Children, which is just as important."

The U of G students were enlisted by Kory Melnick and Kamari Brown Gain, both Grade 8 students at Rockwood Centennial School, and Grade 6 student Robin Melnick. The trio has formed a charity called Step Up for Change and will spend this year helping disadvantaged children around the world.

All three girls have U of G ties. Linda Melnick, mom of Kory and Robin, is manager of business and client services for the Department of Athletics. Kamari is the daughter of Laura Brown, a special graduate clinical faculty member in the clinical psychology program.

U of G students, along with the girls and dozens of their friends, spent two days in Eden Mills laying out the hopscotch course. At 5.5 kilometres, the course probably set a world record. Individuals sponsored hopscotch squares and boards, and participants received pledges to complete the course.

“It was a great event with children supporting children,” said Robin Melnick, 11. “All the awareness and money we have raised is incredible.”

Kamari Brown Gain, 13, added: “The day was fantastic. I can’t believe how many people came out to support us.”

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