U of G Students to Hopscotch for Hope

September 26, 2011 - News Release

It’s likely been years and years since most University of Guelph students have played hopscotch. But on Oct. 1, people of all ages — including busloads of U of G students — are expected to jump on the game to try for a world record and to raise money for children in developing countries.

They’ll be participating in Hopscotch 4 Hope, an event organized by two U of G student clubs along with three Eden Mills youngsters.

Right to Play ClubOrganizers plan to lay out the world’s longest hopscotch course, fully 5.5 kilometres long. Participants will hop, run or walk the course, starting and ending at the Eden Mills Park. Other attractions will include live music, a silent auction, speeches and food tents.

People may sponsor a hopscotch square ($2 each or a 10-board square for $15) or register to take part themselves.

Organizers hope to raise $30,000 for Free the Children and Right to Play, initiatives to help children in developing countries. Both international organizations have U of G chapters.

“It’s about raising money and awareness,” said student Erin Glaysher, co-president of U of G’s Right to Play, one of 20 student chapters in Canada.

The club was asked to help by Kory Melnick and Kamari Brown Gain, both Grade 8 students at Rockwood Centennial, 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. Hopscotch 4 Hope is their largest project so far.

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.

“They gave a presentation to our group; they had a PowerPoint and everything,” said Zakiya Pirani, a fourth-year human resources student and co-president of Right to Play.

“We felt it was a good fit. Right to Play is all about children, helping them reach developmental goals and teaching lessons and life skills through games.”

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.

Club co-presidents Natalie Binette, Jeffrey Friesen and Heather Goldring helped build the school this past summer. The experience showed them hardships faced by Kenyans and the importance of helping children develop skills to escape poverty.

“To see their way of life, how they survive, it was amazing,” Binette said. She said she hopes the event also inspires other students and youth to help in international development.

The two U of G clubs will run entertainment at Hopscotch 4 Hope. They’ll help lay out the hopscotch course, and recruit students and other volunteers. Representatives from Free the Children and Right to Play will also be speaking.

A $15 student package includes return bus fare to Eden Mills, a T-shirt, registration and lunch. Buses will leave the University Centre at 10:30 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. More information is available online.

Binette, Glaysher and Pirani last played hopscotch in grade school. “And I’ve never played,” Frisen added.

No matter. Said Pirani, “We all dream in hopscotch now.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982 or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

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