Forest Glen students fundraising for AIDS research

Noam Gold-Utting and Callum Clarkehave teamed up
to try to raise four million pennies to
donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Tim Murphy, Independent staff

Four million children have died from AIDS in Africa since 2001.

After learning about the disease first hand, a Forest Glen student has decided to collect a penny for every child who has died.

Noam Gold-Utting, along with friend Callum Clarke, have decided to raise four million pennies to donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Gold-Utting said last summer he went to a hospital with his mother, to visit an old friend of hers. The friend was dying from AIDS.

Touched by the situation, and looking to do a good deed for his upcoming Bar mitzvah, he decided to raise cash.

He selected the Stephen Lewis Foundation while doing Internet research because that was the foundation Gold-Utting said kept coming up. Lewis also spoke to his synagogue, and his father read his book as well.

The students hope to fill water jugs with pennies, coins and bills. Each large water jug holds between 24,000 and 25,000 pennies. To reach their four-million penny goal, they will need to fill approximately 160 jugs.

All of next week, water jugs will be at Forest Glen where students and community members can drop off cash.

The bins will also be in a number of community businesses, which have not yet been confirmed.

Gold-Utting and Clarke will also be going class-to-class, playing a video and putting on a small presentation to explain AIDS.

The cash will be used to help support African orphans with food, schooling and counseling.

“They support a number of different things that help,” he said.

Gold-Utting said through his research he found out 15 to 30 per cent of African children will be orphans by 2010.

Gold-Utting and Clarke said they both learned a number of things about AIDS during their research, along with a number of common misconceptions about the disease.

Forest Glen vice-principal Jan Hansen said this has been entirely a student-run initiative.

He said the school jumped on the idea when the office was approached.

“It is a symbolic thing to show little things do matter,” he said.

Anybody who wants to make a donation can drop by Forest Glen this week. Tax receipts will be issued for donations ten dollars or more.

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