Four students from Hebrew Academy, a private Jewish school based in Côte St. Luc, won $5,000 for Montreal's Donald Berman Chai Lifeline on April 27.
Four semi-finalist student groups representing the Starlight Foundation, Friendship Circle, Yaldei Developmental Centre and Chai Lifeline presented their charities before their peers and a panel of student and parent judges that included Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, states a school press release. The winning team was awarded a big fat cheque for the Chai Lifeline.
"The nail-biting face-off signified the climax of students’ months-long participation in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), a project of the Toskan Casale Foundation that encourages teens to research and advocate for a local charity for the chance to win it a $4,000 grant," states the release. "Hebrew Academy will donate $500 and the students are raising another $500."
Touting it as a real-life educational experience, the school's lead YPI teacher Celia Natanblut incorporates the initiative as part of her Grade 10 Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) curriculum.
Based on their research, students prepare a request for funding proposal on behalf of their charity, along with a presentation to introduce their cause to their peers. Charities the teens advocated for include Sun Youth, MADA Community Center, Friendship Circle, Chai Lifeline, Share the Warmth, Starlight, Make a Wish, Auberge Shalom and The Donald Berman Yaldei Developmental Centre.
YPI Social Impact Coordinator Rachel Paris flew in from Toronto to facilitate the event and present the winners, Grade 10 students Isaac Safran, Nathan Benizri, Kyle Fallenbaum and Yehuda Bessner with a giant cheque.
“The Hebrew Academy community has truly gone above and beyond in supporting our Chai Lifeline Warriors,” said Montreal's Chair Lifeline coordinator Stu Guttman. “We feel privileged to be able to count them among our trusted friends in fighting illness with hope and love.”
Chai Lifeline is a charity for ill children, helping parents cope by offering a range of services.