A group of Carihi secondary school students are continuing their fundraising efforts for Rick Mercer’s Spread the Net Challenge by hosting a fundraising concert at the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River.
The Jan. 21 event, organized by Grade 11 student Emily Koopman, will feature singer Brock Zanrosso as the headliner, along with special guest Kate Morgan. Gig Morton will host the evening’s events.
“I’ve been in touch with Brock and his mom, Leslie, shortly after Brock appeared on the YTV reality show The Next Star,” said Koopman. “I mentioned it to Leslie back in October she said she thought it could work. I also know Brock’s creative director, Josh Parsons who has been really helpful to me during this whole process.”
Singer Kate Morgan is another rising star, originally from Kamloops, who has worked with big name talent.
“They agreed right away to do the show, which is pretty amazing considering she has played with the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Sheryl Crow,” Koopman said.
Next up, Koopman, who admits to being extremely shy, needed a host for the show.
“That’s when I thought of Gig,” she said. “Gig is from Comox and he currently co-stars on YTV and Disney XD’s Mr. Young. We talked about what exactly Gig was going to do at the show and decided that he would host – and tap dance.”
Koopman has a history of fundraising for a variety of charitable causes from a very young age.
“I’ve always loved to help and do things for others,” she said. “It first started when I was in grade one and I organized a bake sale for the Vancouver Island marmots. I’ve been supporting Ronald McDonald House B.C. with autographed photos, DVDs, and CDs.
“I have many connections to the entertainment world and I thought, ‘why not use them to do some good, y’know?'”
Carihi teacher Maureen Desrochers, who has spearheaded the school’s Spread the Net campaign had high praise for Koopman’s energy.
“I am very impressed with all of her efforts, all that she is doing for this cause.” she said. “She has literally organized it all and I am amazed. She is a real organizational powerhouse.”
Spread the Net is a campaign to end malaria in Africa by donating mosquito nets, and in the Student Challenge, schools that raise the most money are featured on Canadian comedy icon Mercer’s show, and receive a visit from the host.
Students have until Feb. 29 to raise funds, and this is Carihi’s first year participating in the challenge. Desrochers’ French immersion social studies class, as well as a leadership class and other students from the school are involved in the project.
To start the new year, the group had raised about $700.
According to the Spread the Net website, a child dies from malaria every 45 seconds. It’s the single biggest killer of children under the age of five, and accounts for one in five of all childhood deaths in Africa. Children who sleep under the nets, which are treated with a long lasting insecticide, reduce their chances of contracting malaria by 50 per cent. It costs $10 to provide each net.
An easy way to help the cause is to attend the Jan. 21 show. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Tidemark Theatre box office and website. The evening will also include fabulous prizes, a 50/50 draw and an autograph signing after the show.
For those who can’t attend the concert but would like to donate directly, visit www.spreadthenet.org and follow the links to donate on Carihi’s behalf. Donations can also be dropped off at the school office.