On March 11 and 12, over 440 secondary students across the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board participated in the 2021 Virtual THINK Fast, Development and Peace Caritas of Canada.
THINK Fast is an interactive learning experience designed for the youth which helped them experience the challenges of poverty and injustice in concrete ways. Donations raised took a stand against oppression and directly support programs in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East that bring about peace, justice, and development.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made volunteering extremely difficult in which this was a fantastic opportunity to be in solidarity with the community,” said Webmaster and Social Media Coordinator for the HWCDSB Christian Service Program Lucia Marchionda.
Students interested were able to pledge a donation and then choose from a collection of activities and reflections that explored the challenges of poverty and injustices faced by millions around the globe.
“It was amazing to see the number of students who signed up and volunteered for an amazing cause,” said Marchionda.
“Students’ volunteerism has been enlightened more evidently throughout the COVID pandemic which certainty exemplifies community strength and devoted Catholic stewardship amongst our HWCDSB community.”
In total, $9,020 was raised, which accounted for more than half of the donations raised across Canada.
“Over 1,000 students participated in this event from across the country, and they raised just over $16,000,” said Rebecca Rathbone, Animator for Development and Peace Caritas Canada.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has increased the grade of the hill that people and communities in the Global South climb each day to achieve health, safety, and dignity. They need our support more than ever, and I am confident that the incredible solidarity that the HWCDSB has shown will help to make their efforts successful.”
For Chiara Dalton, a grade 12 student at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School, THINK Fast was an eye-opening and humbling experience.
“I learned how to become more grateful of what I am able to afford and receive, as well as be more mindful of the needy and vulnerable. I reflected on how many people worldwide are living daily without any basic necessities,” she said.
“Volunteering and helping the community/less fortunate made me realize the challenges of poverty, how financially unstable many people are and how we must all stand together to support one another and stand against oppression.”
“Through this volunteer experience I learned that sometimes other people’s happiness is much more important than your own. Caring allows us to grow in love and open opportunities that people may have thought they would never see or be able to experience.”