Running for every kid: South Surrey students raise funds for charity

Southridge School students (front to back) Maria Dindo, Shania McDonald, Jenni Larose and Kiran Mangat are raising money for students in emerging countries.  - Dan Ferguson photo
Southridge School students (front to back) Maria Dindo, Shania McDonald, Jenni Larose and Kiran Mangat are raising money for students in emerging countries.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson photo

On May 11, more than 300 students at South Surrey's Southridge School will take part in the annual TREK (Teens Running for Every Kid) 5K run to raise funds for schools in impoverished countries.

The day before the event, five of those students will prepare by walking the route that starts in the parking lot of the 680-student K-to-12 private school at 2656 160 St.

The members of the Southridge TREK organizing committee – Maria Dindo, Shania McDonald, Jenni Larose, Hailey Myers and Kiran Mangat – will set up markers and tables and organize the prizes.

It promises to be a long day for the group of Grade 11 and 12 students. Last year's TREK organizers started prepping around 7:30 a.m. the day before the race and didn't finish until 8 p.m.

Mangat, 17, the head of the TREK committee, says they started working on the event in October.

The students have lined up the necessary permits and just ordered the first run of 250 T-shirts for event participants at a cost of $1,500.

Since there were 360 participants last year, Mangat is sure more shirts will probably be needed as registrations come in, and so will prizes for the raffle that is part of the fundraiser.

"We're always looking for sponsors" Mangat told Peace Arch News between classes last Thursday.

The annual event was started in 2005.

So far, it has raised $30,000 for the Free The Children charity, money that has gone to build five schools in Kenya and India

This year, Mangat said, some senior Southridge students will have the opportunity to visit the Maasai Mara region of southwestern Kenya to see for themselves the impact their campaign has had for some African students.

Fees for this year's TREK run are $20 in advance and $25 on the day.

Participation is restricted to Southridge students, but donations are welcome.

To make a pledge, email

Kids helping kids

Free The Children is an international charity and youth movement founded in 1995 by then-12-year-old Craig Kielburger.

It's stated goal is to "free children from poverty and exploitation and free young people from the notion that they are powerless to affect positive change in the world."

Kielburger – according to the online history posted online – was moved to take action by a Toronto Star newspaper article about the murder of a 12-year-old Pakistani factory worker who had spoken against child labour.

Soon after, he formed Free The Children with a group of Grade 7 classmates.

Kielburger made headlines later that year when he visited Southeast Asia to get a personal look at the issue and managed to arrange a meeting with then-prime minister Jean Chrétien.

Largely youth-funded, Free The Children describes itself as "the world's largest network of children helping children through education."

It operates in 45 countries including Kenya, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Mexico, and China

So far, it has built more than 600 schools and school rooms in developing countries which educate an estimated 55,000 children a day


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