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Social work students raise awareness and funds for Haiti

Social work students held a masquerAID event to raise money for Haiti.

By Laura Woodford

Dr. Delores Mullings' Social Justice 2711 class is dancing, baking, collecting pennies and selling raffle tickets – whatever it takes to make a difference in the lives of the people of Haiti.

Dr. Mullings says she tries to inspire her students to engage in participatory learning experiences, meaning they help to "create and contribute" to their own learning experiences. This semester, Dr. Mullings suggested Hands Across the Sea (HATS) Haiti as a possible project, among others. Newfoundlander Karen Huxter lives in Haiti and operates an orphanage and school there. Ms. Huxter's mission is in need of funding to complete a school office and a small library. The students decided to take on the challenge.

The 20 students in the class divided themselves into different committees including donations, co-ordination, finance, marketing and media to get the job done.

"We were really excited about this project from the beginning," said Tamara Randell, member of the media committee. "We came up with about 25 ideas for fundraising but eventually narrowed it down to two big ones and a few smaller ones. Our goal is to raise $15,000 to contribute to Karen's mission."

"These students have fully embraced this learning experience," said Dr. Mullings. "They are putting in hours even outside of class time to come up with innovative ways to raise funds and plan these events, and to highlight the ongoing needs of the people in Haiti. An additional benefit of engaging in this project is the dynamics of relationship building – the students are really pulling together and friendships are being formed along the way."

As the students state in their appeal letter: "We know that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are among the most generous donors in Canada. With your help, we can reach our goal and provide Hands Across the Sea with much needed funds to help Haiti."

Upcoming events include donations collected at the door of Trapper John's on George Street on Dec. 1, from 9 p.m.-3 a.m., with raffle tickets being sold on prizes such as a custom-made guitar, Stormtech jackets and Princess Auto tools; an ongoing penny drive taking place at a variety of local businesses; and appeal letters have been sent to raise funds through corporate donations as well as from family members and friends.

To learn more about the project and to contribute to the fundraising activities, contact Pamela Hillier at