Wine Tasting Festival 2017 (CIL)

When CIL coordinators, Zoi Batsis and Maria Fotopoulos first pitched the idea about the fundraising effort of “Smile of the Child, a house in Lesvos”, it touched quite a few passionate supporters within our schools Parents’ Committees. We are not exactly sure whether it was…

  • the parents’ own experience as some of them have recently emigrated from Greece or
  • the fact that the organisation focuses on children’s health & welfare or even
  • the tragic yet moving way the NGO was conceived, and created!
    Nonetheless, the “Smile of the Child” found –within our school & our community– big supporters and “friendly helping hands”.

Many parents were part of the initial meeting, and together with the coordinators, combined their efforts to raise the amount $140,000 required for the initial renovation expenses of the house. This was accomplished by selling tickets, gathering gifts for the raffle & the silent auction, participating as vendors in the agora (bazaar, “Monastiraki style”) that ran as a parallel venue & of course by volunteering.
One of the differences that made this fundraiser stand apart from the others was the participation of our children. As the NGO’s activities mainly benefit children in need, it only made sense to involve our children & have them participate in the activities, raise awareness about the NGO, its effort & what it stands for, as well as allowing them to acquire character-building elements that will benefit them in the future. To do so, the parents decided to run –in parallel with the main venue– an arts & crafts workshop for our children where they would create collaborated & individual pieces of art that were going to be given to the “Smile of the Child” kids in Greece.

The workshop ran both Saturday (May 6, 2017) & Sunday (May 7, 2017) in the cafeteria of the Socrates II campus, attracting about 250 children from all campuses who participated in the activity, thus leaving their personalised message for the kids in need in Greece.
The group item was a collaborative painting that was created by our children and that will eventually be hung at the new house in Lesvos. Depicted in the painting are two islands –let’s not forget that both Montreal & Lesvos are islands– on top of which, each child put its own personalised touch / message for their “friends” in need in Greece.
The individual items were either a greeting card or a “message in a bottle” (similar to what a shipwrecked person would throw in the sea hoping that someone will find it & respond) that also included (rolled piece of specialty paper) a personal message of courage or a proverb, and that again, was directed to their “friends” in need in Greece.
For themselves (to take home), the children made a small handcrafted souvenir (worry beads, bracelet or necklace or a stand with the Greek & the Canadian flags) and of course even more drawings to remember the event & their participation.
Some campuses graciously funded activities such as face painting or creative games & Kefi Fit Kids was in the Gymnasium, pro bono, to keep our children occupied & entertained when they were not participating in the workshop.
At the end of the two-day event, the children presented the collaborative painting & the individual art items to President of the BOD of the “Smile of the Child”, Mr. Costas Yannopoulos & Head of International Cooperation & Programs, Ambassador (Hon) Marc Van den Reeck, explained their meaning & intended purpose and took pictures, discussed with the VIPs their point of view & impressions of the event.

The “Smile of the Child” needed our help & contribution. As an NGO, it requires tremendous effort to care for children that lack in health, are malnutritioned, come from “broken” or abusive families or have no family at all and who grow-up in a non-privileged, challenging environments and societies where the weak & small are either ignored or become victims.
Through this fundraiser, united, we extended a helping hand to this gigantic effort to help the children in need and –at the same time– taught our children to relate with the cause and the act of giving. We are happy to report that fundraiser event was a success. The amount of money collected will be announced on June 13, 2017, during the Cheque Presentation Reception. The “Smile of the Child” found many small yet open & welcoming arms. Looking forward to seeing this fundraiser in our city and our community again next year.