MISSISSAUGA — International charity guru Marc Kielburger made a quick stop last night in Mississauga to speak at a youth leadership event at John Fraser Secondary School.
Kielburger, co-founder of international school-building charity Free The Children, was on hand to help launch a charitable initiative simply known as "The School Project." The goal is to raise $10,000. The students at John Fraser Secondary School and Thomas Street Middle School Schools are partners in the effort.
"Both schools have been very long history of organizing and mobilizing our students in terms of developing their leadership skills and giving back to the community," said John Fraser principal Mary Nanavati. "We wanted to do something to energize and pull both schools together to do something really inspiring."
While this will be John Fraser Secondary's first time working with Free the Children, Thomas Street Middle School has already been involved with the program previously raising $15,000 over 15 years to build a school and a well in Kenya.
Both schools are very active players with charitable initiatives supporting local food banks, as well poverty and children's organizations, holding many annual events and fundraisers throughout the year in support of such foundations.
"The goal is to go beyond the curriculum," said Thomas Street principal Catherine Lord. "We want good global citizenship. We want children to understand what their part in the world is, and how to be a better part of it."
Last night's event, opened by a few words and a performance by Mississauga New Credit First Nations member Garry Sault, drew hundreds of students and parents to help launch the fundraiser and hear Kielburger, 36, speak. Tickets to the event cost $5 and all proceeds were in support of the school project in Ghana.
"The students at these two schools have been phenomenal. Whatever they get involved in is beyond amazing. When they find an issue they care, and are passionate about, they just get on board," said Kielburger.
Kielburger founded Free the Children with younger brother Craig in 1999, after Craig made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to feature his international charity work as a 12-year-old from Thornhill.
Since its inception, Free the Children has built over 650 schools worldwide, provided over a million people with clean drinking water, and donated over $16 million in medical supplies to Third World and disaster relief efforts across the globe.