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Yale students Live to Give

Kaitie Szabo poses alongside a series of mementoes from various service projects undertaken by the leadership classes at Yale Secondary. The Grade 12 student and her classmates are organizing Live to Give, a fundraiser to build schools in Sierra Leone. - Dan Kinvig
Kaitie Szabo poses alongside a series of mementoes from various service projects undertaken by the leadership classes at Yale Secondary. The Grade 12 student and her classmates are organizing Live to Give, a fundraiser to build schools in Sierra Leone.
— image credit: Dan Kinvig

Spending all night at school doesn’t sound like most students’ idea of a good time.

But on March 8 at Yale Secondary, upwards of 300 enthusiastic teens are expected to turn out for the school’s second annual all-night fundraising event, Live to Give.

Students will be broken into groups to rotate through 10 activity rooms throughout the building, including Hunger Games-themed activities and glow-in-the-dark dodgeball.

All the fun has a purpose – attendees must each raise at least $50, which will go towards building schools in Sierra Leone via the Canadian charity organization Free the Children.

Last year’s inaugural bash, billed as Dare to Care, raised nearly $20,000 for clean water and sanitation projects in Kenya.

The 61 students in Yale’s senior leadership classes handle the planning and execution of the event, with teachers coming alongside to provide guidance.

“This is our big global initiative,” said Soraya Rajabally, one of the senior leadership teachers. “It’s about looking beyond our own parameters and giving back.”

Promoting positive change, both at home and abroad, helps the students expand their worldview, Rajabally said.

“As a teenager, we were all there, and it was always all about us,” she noted. “The point of these leadership classes is to get them thinking outside of that, and to take that with them all the way through life.”

“It changes you as a person,” Yale senior Kaitie Szabo said, reflecting on her involvement with Live to Give.

“I think it’s made me more passionate and more inspired to make a change and be a better person. You watch what you do now. Even just having a glass of water, it’s like, ‘Wow. Some people don’t even have that.’ ”

Check out the school's video!

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