NORTH DURHAM: Two RH Cornish Public School students, both of whom carried out unique fundraisers, were among the many North Durham residents contributing in 2012 to the future construction of a new Scugog-Uxbridge Animal Shelter.
Aiden Wilcox, 12, and Olivia Summerhays, 7, each carried out their own fundraising initiatives for the new shelter, raising close to $700 for the cause. The two students were recently presented with plaques from the committee, commemorating their efforts.
Aiden, who raised several hundred dollars in 2011 for the Humane Society of Kawartha Lakes by vowing to dye his hair bright pink, raised funds in a similar fashion last fall in support of two charities - the new Uxbridge-Scugog Animal Shelter and International Justice Mission, a charity which rescues child and adult slaves around the world.
True to his word, Aiden followed through on a vow to donors in 2011 to dye his hair a colour of their choosing. By popular vote, 'zebra stripes' was the top pick and once again, Aiden headed into Shagg's Hair and Body Works in Port Perry to get a new look.
This past fall, Aiden raised approximately $1,300 for the two causes, donating $500 of that money to the new animal shelter.
According to mom Mary, Aiden started his fundraising initiatives in 2010 with a church campaign called Do a Dare for Africa, where participants 'dare' themselves to take on something outside of their comfort zone - like having pink hair - to raise funds for a worthy cause. Through that pink hair dare, Aiden raised $900 to help with education endeavours in Uganda.
Following a presentation by one of her teachers this past year, Olivia began looking for a way to help out the local shelter and found the answer in artwork. She began painting pictures to sell for charity, eventually totalling $189 from the sales of her art, all of which was donated to the shelter committee.
The two local students said they plan to continue their fundraising efforts for the shelter, with Aiden recently starting a web site for his charitable endeavours at www.campaignchangetheworld.com.
The shelter committee is also receiving plenty of ongoing help from students and staff of North Durham schools through the in-school 'Pennies For Paws' campaign, in which coins (particularly pennies) are being collected to help fund the new facility.
"This is a testament to how good our kids in this community are," said shelter committee member Art Matthews of efforts by youth like Aiden and Olivia. "It's invigorating to see our local youth engaged in such activities and it reflects the community at large."
According to Mr. Matthews, more than $100,000 has been raised in North Durham since the proposal for a new shelter was pitched in January 2011 - approximately one-tenth of the committee's fundraising goals, he said.
Mr. Matthews said the committee's plans for the new year will focus on grant proposals and a major donor campaign, made possible by the committee's recent successful incorporation as a registered charity. He added those plans will roll out over the next three months.
A final architectural design of the new shelter, to be located on a Lakeridge Rd. property in Uxbridge, will also be finalized by March 31, said Mr. Matthews.
A number of fundraising events have also been planned for 2013, said Mr. Matthews. Those include the second annual gala fundraiser on May 4 at Mill Run Golf Club, a June 27 charity golf tournament at Oakridge Golf Club, as well as a Scugog-Uxbridge walkathon and charity bingo (details and dates for those two events are yet to be announced).
Last year's gala raised more than $30,000 for the new shelter, according to a release from the committee.
For more information or to make an on-line donation, visit www.animal-shelter.ca.