Making a difference to lives of many

Misaki Yoneda (left), Julie van Egteren, Oleksandra Yaniuk and Nadine Biggs with the donation boxes they created to help Japanese earthquake victims. Photo submitted. - Photo submitted
Misaki Yoneda (left), Julie van Egteren, Oleksandra Yaniuk and Nadine Biggs with the donation boxes they created to help Japanese earthquake victims. Photo submitted.
— image credit: Photo submitted

North Island College student Misaki Yoneda, an international student from Japan, put her ideas, creativity and determination to work to raise $1,000 for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Although not from Sendai where the most significant damage occurred, Yoneda was devastated watching the news footage and wanted to demonstrate her support.

Her enthusiasm and compassion were contagious.

Using the North Island College (NIC) International Facebook page, she recruited three other students, Oleksandra Yaniuk, Julie van Egteren and Nadine Biggs, to assist with the fundraising efforts.

“People seemed to want to do something, they just weren’t sure what,” said van Egteren.

“So we came together to give people the opportunity to act. It just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Yoneda began by creating personalized donation boxes, and the team brainstormed as to how to make the most impact with their combined efforts.

Eight collection boxes were placed around the campuses at high traffic locations, such as the library, bookstore, student services and the cafeteria.

“We set our fundraising target with high hopes but thought it would be difficult to reach the $1,000 mark,” said Biggs.

To kick things off, the team set up a table in the cafeteria to get the word out about their project.

They raised $200 that first day.

Over the course of their four-week campaign, they hosted a bake sale, arranged to have a booth at various college events and sold homemade sushi – 220 pieces in less than 90 minutes.

“We were so well supported,” continued Biggs. “Five more international students helped out, the staff at the bookstore were hugely helpful, the cafeteria employees donated all their tips, and we were pleasantly surprised by the generosity of all students.

“The campaign actually exceeded our own expectations. ”

Ben Vorst from the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) was impressed with the students’ efforts, calling them a “tremendous fundraising success.

“The funds received at the CRC office today will go a long way towards relieving the suffering of the Japanese people during this crisis,” he said. “(The students) can be proud to have made such a difference in the lives of many people.”

NIC’s International Education program welcomed more than 100 students from more than 20 countries this past year.

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