What do little-legged dogs, Michael Jordan-sized men and women born before 1921 have in common?
All were escorted down to Notre Dame High School on Saturday, prizes in a scavenger hunt that capped off an annual grad class-organized fundraiser that this year benefited Street Ties Youth Outreach.
“They hopped on board Red Deer Transit, which let them ride for free for the day . . . and hit the streets to collect all sorts of wild and whacky items” including Ukrainian dance boots, a tandem bicycle, and a Canadian reservist in uniform, said organizer and Notre Dame event co-ordinator Shannon Nivens.
The nearly 200 participating students, staff members and parents, divided into 29 teams, raised more than $38,000.
Principal Greg Hall recalled seeing one father bicycle back to the school (players couldn’t use their vehicles) with a full-sized door strapped sideways to his back, with six metres of snow fence tacked onto it.
“He got off his bike, and I tell you there was sweat pouring off of him,” Hall said, laughing.
He was deeply inspired by his students, Hall said. Even though they didn’t reach their goal — $53,000 or more, about what was raised last year for Ronald McDonald House project — they were able to spread the word and learn about a very important organization, Hall added.
“Our kids are doing this in a non-judgemental manner. They empathize, they recognize in a lot of cases they have had it really good and that there are others out there that have huge hurdles to overcome. And they want to help them,” he said.
A week of activities preceded the fundraiser, and students collected almost 40 backpacks stuffed with the necessities of life for the kids at Street Ties.
“We’re going to take care of a lot of daily needs” of kids at the Street Ties drop-in centre, said Sandy Proseilo, program manager with Parkland Youth Homes, which operates Street Ties.
Food, clothing, bus passes — “and shoes, shoes are a big deal, kids always grow out of shoes” — are among the items the money raised will pay for, said Proseilo.
It will also pay for some more casual staffing at the centre, which has seen a “significant” increase in use of late, she said.
Donations can still be made to help the students get closer to their goal by contacting Nivens at 403-342-4800, ext. 3394.