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Friday, August 12, 2011

A Playground for Attawapiskat

Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.

The Cree community Attawapiskat on James Bay (Northern Ontario, Canada) - ever heard of it?

Well, me neither ... not before I got to know 12 year old Wesley Prankard from Niagara Falls, and heard of his organization "Northern Starfish".

Since then, this First Nations community has become very close to me ... although  several thousand miles lie between my place and Attawapiskat.

Sorry, I can't come up with a proper number - Google maps had trouble calculating the distance, because someone put an ocean in the way :-)!


To get an impression on what what I'm talking about, check out this video feature here:

As you can see in the video, Attawapiskat is a very poor First Nations community without a proper school building, and without even a single playground for the kids. These outrageous conditions made some kids start to campaign and work on improving things, after the Canadian government is failing for more than a decade (!) now to do their duty and right these wrongs.


Shannen Koostachin
(July 12th 1994 - June 1st 2010)
The organization "Shannen's Dream <3" fights for finally getting the kids of Attawapiskat a new school building.

Shannen Koostachin, the founder of this organization, tragically died in 2010 in a car crash, that happened on her way to attend high school, which is some 300 miles away from her home community.

She was only 15 years old ...

But her dream is being pursued, still, and her supporters will not rest before the government finally will have given the kids of Attawapiskat a new school building!


Wesley Prankard
Winner of the $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Everything grant
(Canada 2010)
To build a playground for the kids of Attawapiskat, and, by that, not trying to all by himself "change the world" for this community, but still to bring a little bit of joy and hope to the people there (namely the kids!), has become the self-chosen mission of a 12 year old boy from Niagara Falls (Canada):

Wesley Prankard

You can learn more about his ambitions on his website, on his Facebook page, and in Wesley's videos on his YouTube channel (which are really very informative, inspiring and entertaining, because Wes is great on camera!).

During a year of tireless campaign work, Wes has raised $55,000 in donations, and will build a playground for his friends in Attawapiskat om August 20th, which is his 13th birthday.

Still, the funding of this massive project is not yet complete, and for the last steps of this long way, Wes needs your support! Please learn more about how you can contribute to his project in this video:

Sometimes, waiting for officials (let alone governments!) to act can take like forever. Kids like Shannen and Wesley teach adults, who hold offices and are responsible for bringing change and improvement, a lesson - about the fact that some things simply need to be done, and that personal initiative and devotion can move things where laws may well be there, but regulations and politicians fail.

And the more help together, the easier it gets! Therefore, I ask you to consider supporting Wesley's mission with what you can spare. Every dollar helps!

Please feel free to also spread the word, and share this blog on Facebook, Google+, via Twitter etc. ... it would mean a lot!



Update, August 21st 2011:

As planned (and hoped for!), Wesley was indeed able to build the playground, and finish it on his birthday this year. Learn more about that by checking out the Northern Starfish Facebook page - lots of info and pictures there, really worth a visit and "Like"!

Still, the journey goes on, and ongoing support is needed! Wesley will not stop after this first success - "One playground for every Northern First Nations community that doesn't have one", this is his goal. 

Help together,
to catch a dream!



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