WCI’s Walk for Hope Fundraiser Raises $15,000 and Covers Close to 10,000 km

WCI's fundraiser met its financial and distance goals. Members of Student Activities supported organizing the event. Photo by Liam Orsborn.

On Thursday, after over a week of activity, staff and students met their goal of raising $15,000 to help reunite a WCI Syrian family.

Each of the almost 240 participants was encouraged to walk 25 km over the week, or five km each day with the goal that by the end of the fundraiser the school would have walked a collective 9,371 km, the distance from Canada to Syria. 

The fundraiser, called Walk for Hope, was lead by students and staff and this quadmester to reconnect a Syrian family that had been separated due to the war and immigration limits. 

When people heard the story that a family had been separated for several years, during which time the family has worked to reunite, and that there was a fundraiser that could help, they felt as if they needed to help.

Sam U., who participated in the event, raised $450 dollars for the event just by emailing his friends and family. 

“I think it’s a great thing that the school is doing. It’s a fun way to raise money while staying safe during the pandemic,.” he said. 

One of those reasons this fundraiser has been as successful, according to principal Ms. Watters, is that it recreated a “missing connection during the pandemic.” Watters went on to explain how she loved to see how Walk for Hope brought participants together to compete, bond, and reginite that connection between each other.

This sense of community is what Mrs. Waters hopes the school’s efforts can encourage others to join. She hopes with the CBC and CTV reports on the event will inspire more people to donate.

Students walk around the football field at WCI. Photo by Liam Orsborn.

The fundraising event used an app called “Pacer” to track how far people walked, which made the experience more interactive. The app also made it more competitive by adding a leaderboard for most kilometers walked, which increased participation from everyone involved a significant amount. 

Ms. Klassen, who also took part in the event, was walking over the set goal of five km every day. Her motivation was due in part to the Pacer app, which she said was “hugely engaging.” 

However, the real motivation behind most participants’ walking was the family they were supporting. 

Ms. Klassen talked about how “the idea that a family has been separated for four years is heartbreaking, and this was something I could do to support getting that family back together.” 

This motivation is what got everyone moving in the first place. While WCI has raised the amount they had hoped for, and walked the distance they set as a goal, the biggest achievement is that WCI has helped a family separated by conflict.

Mennonite Central Committee helped to coordinate the collection of donations during this fundraiser. Pledge forms are still being accepted by Student Activities.