“Look For The Helpers” – Charitable Children Fundraising and Volunteering in the Community
By Matthew St. Amand
Sometimes, young people can’t catch a break. Born into a world that is not of their making, learning the ropes from scratch, and, occasionally, fielding age-old complaints from elders.
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise . . . They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
Socrates uttered that gem somewhere between 470 – 399 B.C. As with most generalities, it’s generally untrue. One can easily find young people in Windsor and Essex County who are shining examples of good citizenship.
To better frame the following stories, a true expert in human nature and young people should be consulted. Mr. Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
Indeed, with the dystopian year, 2020, in the rear view mirror, Biz X is pleased to share the following stories of six stellar young people in our community whose hearts are in the right place and who work each day to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Bianca Georgescu, 12 Years Old
Bianca Georgescu is a seventh grader at École élémentaire catholique Monseigneur-Jean-Noel, who, in the past four years, has raised over $11,000 for various organizations in Essex County.
“Everything began in April 2016,” she recalls, “volunteering with my parents and brother at The Downtown Mission of Windsor. My parents explained to us how important it was to help people in need, so I decided to help as much as I could.”
True to her goal, Bianca expanded her efforts, to include other local organizations, such as Transition to Betterness (T2B) and The Hospice of Windsor and Essex County Inc.
For instance, after growing her hair out for two years, Bianca raised $3,000 for the “Hair to Share” campaign and not only donated her hair to “Angel Hair For Kids,” a program of A Child’s Voice Foundation, but the funds collected were put to good use through T2B paediatric programs at Windsor Regional Hospital.
The community spirit certainly runs in the family. Bianca became a T2B Youth Ambassador after her brother, Alexandru, joined.
“It sounded fancy,” states Bianca, “so I went with him and was fascinated by all the good kids could do in our city. I participated in many events T2B organized, such as: ‘BBQ to the Rescue’, ‘Halloween Spectacular’, ‘Lemonade Day’, car washes, and selling poinsettias during Christmas, as well as ‘Yoga 4 Hope’ and other events.”
In 2018 and 2019, the fundraiser that she organized for Hospice brought in more than $900 each year. She also participated in a triathlon, where she raised an additional $1,800.
In the same time frame, Bianca raised over $1,000 each year to buy presents for “Christmas for Kids” at two Romanian Orthodox churches in Windsor.
“Every year I choose a program to dedicate the money,” Bianca explains.
It’s not surprising that the COVID-19 global pandemic has affected Bianca’s efforts.
“In the beginning of the year, I planned to raise at least $500, each month in 2020, for different causes,” she says. “I had a very busy agenda for last year, but this pandemic turned everything over . . . It has been a difficult year for fundraising.”
Bianca, however, is not one to give up.
She continues working with T2B saying, “The team set up an account with CanadaHelps for my ‘Hair to Share’ campaign and people have donated online,” she comments. In the meantime, Bianca continues her efforts, using social media.
Lindsey Bareich, 14 Years Old
Lindsey Bareich, a ninth grade student at Sandwich Secondary School, started “Carve 4 Cancer” when she was just 12 years old, for the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation (WCCF).
“Ever since I was a little kid, my family got these giant pumpkins to carve for Halloween,” Lindsey explains. “Each weighed up to 80 pounds! So, when my dad challenged me to organize a charity event, we knew we had to use these giant pumpkins, which became the base for ‘Carve 4 Cancer’.”
Businesses donate to the WCCF and in return, receive a giant pumpkin to carve, decorate, or paint. The pumpkins are then delivered to the foundation, where patients and staff vote on Facebook for the winner in their “Best Pumpkin” contest.
Over the past three years, Lindsey has raised $30,180 for the WCCF. It’s worth noting that “Carve 4 Cancer” 2020 — despite the COVID-19 global pandemic — was Lindsey’s best year yet, raising an eye-popping $11,780.
In December 2020, Lindsey received the “Outstanding Partnership Award” for the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program (ESC RCP) “Summit Award”. This is an award presented annually “to recognize healthcare employees, volunteers, or groups who are working toward the objectives and actions outlined in the ESC RCP Strategic Plan, and are devoted to minimizing the impact of cancer and improving quality of life for the residents of Erie St. Clair.”
How does Lindsey inspire other people her age to get involved with the community?
“Age isn’t a restriction,” she declares. “Anyone can use their initiative and be the change they wish to see in the world.”
Her parents are proud of her efforts, particularly because they have a relationship to the WCCF.
Lindsey plans to continue the “Carve 4 Cancer” as an annual event.
“Each year comes with its own challenges,” she says. “For example, in 2019, the pumpkin crop failed and instead of ‘Carve 4 Cancer’, I organized a similar event around the winter holiday called, ‘Wreaths 4 Wellness’ where businesses donated to the WCCF and decorated Christmas wreaths.”
Lindsey has taken the events of 2020 in stride, adapting to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Some businesses that previously donated skipped last year, due to the economic downturn.
Others declined the pumpkin aspect of the event because of social distancing restrictions, and simply donated, instead.