By Bhavana Gopinath –
Grace Brosha, an 11-year-old student at Ecole St-Francois D’Assise in Hintonburg, wants to help local charities $10 at a time. She has started a new movement in Ottawa called 100 Kids. The first meeting of 100 Kids is scheduled for March 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Ottawa City Hall and is open to any child aged 6 to 16 in the Ottawa area.
Like many powerful ideas, 100 Kids is rooted in a simple concept. Here’s how it works: Kids get together every three months or so with $10 of their allowance. Three kids at the meeting speak for 2-4 minutes and make a case for a charity they believe deserves the funds. Other kids listen to the presentations and then take a vote. The charity with the most votes gets the money.
The idea is that if 100 kids each donate $10, the chosen charity nets $1000 – not an insignificant amount, especially considering that the money comes from the pockets of schoolchildren. Kids use their own spending money – cash received for their birthday, allowance, or money earned by walking their neighbour’s dog.
This idea empowers children with choice and the ability to make a difference. If they wish, a child can nominate a charity of their choice – perhaps a well-known one, or perhaps a smaller organization – and then act as an advocate for their charity to their peers. Kids have the opportunity to speak up for a cause they believe in and convince others to give their money to that cause.
Grace was an active participant in 100 Kids movement in Halifax, where the initiative originally started. She didn’t miss a single meeting and estimates she has donated about $100 of her own money to various charities. She has made presentations about three different charities. The highlight of these events, she says, is when recipient charities come to the subsequent meetings to say thank you and tell the children how they spent their money. The SPCA, for instance, brought puppies to one meeting to demonstrate to the kids how the funds were spent on animal care.
When Grace moved to Ottawa in July 2017, she tested the concept with friends in her school. She now wants to start a 100 Kids movement in Ottawa.
Preparations for the first 100 Kids meeting are underway with help from Grace’s family, including her nine-year-old brother, Abraham, who has volunteered to speak at the event. Emails to school friends have been sent. The Twitter and Facebook accounts for 100 Kids Ottawa are now live, as is the website. Posters are now being distributed in the Kitchissippi area.
The event on March 22 at City Hall will have a catered snack, sponsored in part by Bridgehead. It’s anticipated that Mayor Jim Watson and Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper will attend and throw their support behind this initiative.
Grace and her mother, Catherine Brosha, hope for a good turnout. Grace will consider the event a success if at least 25 kids show up. Catherine points out that the event is being held the day after spring officially starts; a good time to start a new habit. She urges young people to commit to one meeting per season of 100 Kids Ottawa. Catherine believes it is important to demonstrate to kids that we will always have time for other people and that will always be ready to help those in need.
Grace is now counting down the days and is confident that the movement will pick up steam. She believes that Ottawa people – young and old – will help her mission to help others.