Sponsors of the National Bike Ride For Youth (from back left) Paul Morgan of National Bank Financial

Sponsors of the National Bike Ride For Youth (from back left) Paul Morgan of National Bank Financial

Funds roll for children’s charity

National Bank Financial is going national with their fundraising efforts for the Free the Children charity.

National Bank Financial is going national with their fundraising efforts for the Free the Children charity.

Almost a month of bike riding across Canada will hopefully raise a lot of money for our youth to make changes all over the world.

“Two years ago Richard Rousseau (National Bank Financial president), met Craig Kielburger (founder of Free the Children), and was really impressed,” said Sherman Dahl with the Vernon branch of National Bank Financial.

The firm had been looking for a national cause they felt passionate about, and they found it in Free the Children said Dahl.

“It’s such a great charity,” said Fulton Secondary School teacher Mike Edgar. “The charity is about making the most impact. There’s not a lot of overhead or advertising. They use a lot of social media.”

Edgar has been instrumental in getting Fulton students involved in Free the Children. Last year he escorted 30 students to Vancouver for “We Day” at Rogers Arena, and later on a trip to Kenya to help build a school.

“Sometimes you really do have to see to believe,” said Danika Serafin, a Grade 12 student who went on the trip to Kenya. “This way I get to see first hand where the money is going.”

Serafin has been involved in multiple Free the Children initiatives here in Vernon, and as such has been invited by National Bank Financial to speak at a dinner the night before the ride.

What Serafin and Edgar like most about Save the Children is “the structure of their aid.”

“They don’t just feed people, they use the money to create opportunities for them to be self-sustaining,” said Edgar.

Typical Free the Children projects include educating women and youth, teaching trades such as beading, building clean water wells and sometimes filtration systems in places like Kenya, Ecuador, China, Haiti and India.

National Bank Financial is collecting pledges through the National Bike Ride for Youth to support Free the Children’s Big Dreamers Award.

The Big Dreamers Award is a financial prize given to a carefully chosen student fundraising group, to allow them to effect even greater positive change.

The full bike ride will go from Sept. 7 to Oct. 3, starting in Victoria and ending in Montreal, with the Vernon leg taking place on Sept. 12. To sign up as a rider visit www.nationalbikerideforyouth.com.

For more information on Free the Children go to www.freethechildren.com.