With school closed after Toronto’s stay-at-home order, Timothy Wang, Matton Xia, and J.T. Zhang found themselves wanting to help out their local community. “I noticed we had a lot of free time, and I wanted to do something very meaningful with my time and not waste it,” said Matton.
Seeing the need for support for Toronto frontline workers, these three Grade 11 students from North York’s Crescent School raised more than $13,000 for Scarborough Health Network’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. They started their fundraiser by creating a GoFundMe page and naming themselves Boundless and garnered the support of more than 70 donors from the local community.
“We watched the news, and we saw some very horrific conditions that some hospitals were in right now, and we wanted to do something to help.” said J.T. “I consulted my parents right away and asked for their help. They helped us spread the news, and all our parents worked hard to get our fundraiser out to friends, businesses and their colleagues.”
As they cold-called hospitals to see what they could do to help and support frontline workers, the students were connected with Scarborough Health Network’s Dr. Lisa Salamon and Dr. Kanna Vela, from the Department of Emergency Medicine. The two doctors supported the initiative and helped the high school trio coordinate with the procurement department to help secure PPE with select suppliers.
Their initiative quickly spread through their family, friends and classmates, and they were able to obtain 2,000 masks from one of the parents in their school (which were donated to SHN in April). In less than a month, more than $13,940 was raised through the GoFundMe campaign, with no signs of slowing down yet.
The group presented a check to SHN on May 11, alongside Dr. Salamon, Dr. Vela and Alicia Vandermeer, President & CEO of SHN Foundation.
“We were thrilled to learn about the fundraising efforts from the students to help our frontline staff fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alicia. “The leadership they’ve demonstrated by spearheading this initiative is truly inspiring and extraordinary. We are incredibly thankful to Timothy, Matton and J.T. for supporting our hospitals during these challenging times.
“I’d like to think our parents are proud,” said J.T. on their group’s fundraising accomplishments.
But the students wanted to ensure that this was not about them. “We want to keep the attention on the frontline workers, not on us. Everything we’re doing right now is for them. We want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to our frontline workers.”
Timothy shared that they hope to continue raising funds for SHN and organizing fundraisers like this in the future. “We’re just three regular high school kids. No matter your age, you can make a difference. I encourage people to try and help and do whatever they can.”
To support Boundless and the students’ efforts to help fight COVID-19, visit their GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/boundless-covid19
You can also make a direct donation to Scarborough Health Network Foundation at https://shnfoundation.ca/covidfund