I am overwhelmingly proud to tell Bowen Islanders that the youth of our island raised $4,000 (or 5000 cedis) for the children of Royal Seed Orphanage in Ghana last Thursday night.
The youth-initiated-and-run Said the Whale benefit concert for Bowen Shares was an extraordinary success on many levels.
Four hundred people of all ages attended the outdoor concert at the youth centre parking lot. It was a transformed landscape: a
colorful, natural amphitheatre with blow-up orca whales and Ghanian and Canadian flags flying overhead.
The vision and support of Ann Silberman at the Children's Centre and the hard work and tenacity of Matt Neufeld at the Youth Centre redefined the plain parking lot into a vibrant public space. Parents sat on the slope, toddlers frolicked on the playground and teens danced in the mosh pit below. It all worked.
Thanks to the skill and leadership of Joel Bravo and the support of Rob Van Dyke and Brad Ryan, the concert sounded incredible!
Island sponsors such as the Building Centre, Bel'Ochio, The Office, Tuscany, the recreation department and municipal hall supported youth in chasing a dream of a mid-week concert with Canada's hottest band.
Young Bowen islanders Lauren Spear and Emily Allen soothed the crowd with their delicate harmonies, followed by The Works, who rocked out with four original tunes. One song, dedicated to IPS students' penpals at Royal Seed Orphanage, brought the audience to its feet. IPS students one by one approached the stage and called out the dreams of their African friends. Teacher Jen Henrichsen, founder of Bowen Shares, watched the whole show on Skype from Ghana. Video and photos of the concert are now being edited by local youth to send to Ghana.
Representatives from Free The Children/ We Day were in also attendance. They were very impressed by the initiative and spirit our island youth, noting that is was unique to have youth working as performers, writers, publicists, videographers, editors, decorators, musicians, cleaners and sound technicians. Bowen is breeding a wonderful group of young social activists. The adults of this community should know it!
Bowen youth involved in this event should feel very proud of their contributions. Working together to make this concert happen has made a big difference in the world. Just ask Ottilia, the young Ghanian girl at Royal Seed Orphange, who now gets to go to high school and chase her dream of one day being a pilot.
You are the generation we have been waiting for. I believe that!