The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that approximately 300,000 children under the age of 18 are child soldiers, involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide. Michel Chikwanine is a former child soldier and will be visiting Bayside Secondary School to present “From Child Soldier to Child Activist: The Journey to Hope” on Thursday, October 28, 2010.
What: Photo opportunity at Michel Chikwanine’s presentation
When: Thursday, October 28, 2010. Assembly will run from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.
Where: Bayside Secondary School Gymnasium
Who: Students, school and board employees
Michel grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country which has endured a civil war that has claimed over 5.8 million lives. As a young child, Michel was forced to witness the torture of his father and the rape of his mother. After becoming a refugee at the age of 11, Michel was recruited to become a child soldier and the majority of his young life was spent enduring the atrocities of war.
Today, Michel has emerged from his conflict-stricken past and is an accomplished motivational speaker. He has spoken to more than 100,000 people and has shared the stage with Craig and Marc Kielburger, founders of Free the Children; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; The Dalai Lama; and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Betty Williams.
Some of Bayside’s student leaders were given a preview of the power of Michel’s story at We Day in Toronto on Thursday, September 30, 2010.
“We can’t wait for the rest of our school to hear Michel’s story. He is so inspirational!” said student Shontell Young.
Michel should have no trouble inspiring the students to believe in their ability to create change. Bayside’s students have a strong legacy of social responsibility and involvement. As a “We School,” registered with Free the Children’s We Schools in Action Program, Bayside has fundraised to build a school in China, sells ethically-made school clothing and raised $10,000 last year for local food banks with Meal Exchange’s 24-Hours for Hunger Campaign.
This year, Bayside is working hard on its Halloween for Hunger campaign to collect non-perishable food items for local food banks and is also fundraising to build a school in India.
“I am never surprised by the generosity and hard work of our students, who genuinely care about the plight of others both locally and abroad. Bayside’s students are truly making a difference in the lives of others,” said Emily Young, a Bayside Secondary School teacher.
Members of the public who wish to see Michel Chikwanine can call the BSS Office at 613-966-2922 to request a guest pass. A limited number is available..
Bayside Secondary School  (BSS) provides a dynamic learning environment to approximately 850 students. The school excels in many different areas including academics, athletics, arts, technology and student leadership. Past achievements are impressive and are posted on the school website. The school Vision Statement is A school community promoting excellence in achievement by engaging learners in a relevant challenging curriculum which prepares them for the future. Bayside is home the French Immersion program. The school also offers specialty programs in International Studies, Communications Technology, Eco Bound and Advanced Placement. This is in addition to the many other curricular and extracurricular programs at the school.
For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, 613-966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 2354, [email protected]