After listening to a keynote address about the reality of human trafficking during an All Ontario Youth Convention last May, Derek Schurrman, a grade 11 student at Hamilton District Christian High School (HDCH) knew he couldn’t just “sit idly by” anymore. He and his friends (also HDCH students), have since launched a “Let Kids be Kids” campaign, with the goal of helping children effected by human trafficking. To begin the project, the group first contacted Iona Buisman, Global Volunteer Program Manager at World Renew, and later connected with teachers and students at their school in an effort to begin raising funds for the cause.
The group’s actions started small. They organized a school bake sale and two car washes, raising over $1,000. A student named Tyler Winter rallied members of his online video gaming community to raise over $1,200. The group also invited the broader HDCH community to support the campaign during the school’s “Celebration of Learning” night, bringing the amount of money donated to a total of $6,000.
The funds will be sent to World Renew and used in Senegal Nigeria to help 5,000 young people avoid human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, early unwanted pregnancies, violence and sexual abuse. Thanks to a grant from the Canadian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) these donations will be matched 3:1.
Members of the “Let Kids be Kids” campaign hope to raise $15,000 and carry a keen awareness of what’s at stake for the children they are seeking to help. “We’ve grown up in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. We don’t know what it’s like to have to live in fear or need every day,” says HDCH student, Braden VanDyk. “We called our project Let Kids Be Kids because we think that every kid deserves a childhood.”