On Feb. 28, Queen’s students will bike for 12 hours in the ARC to raise money and awareness for the Happy Soul Project.
Bikes will be stationed near the Earl Street entrance from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., where members and executives of both clubs will take turns biking. Now in its second year, the organizers have increased the goal from last year’s $500 to $2,000.
Den Otter, heading the Queen’s Happy Soul Project chapter this year, and Stephanie Alanna, the events coordinator, spoke to The Journal about their initiative.
“Volunteering with Queen’s Happy Soul Project has been such an incredible experience,” Otter told The Journal.
A Kingston mother started the Happy Soul Project as a blog about her child, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. It has since grown into an international organization that supports children with special needs.
Queen’s Happy Soul Project will use the fundraised money for several initiatives targeted towards the Kingston community.
For example, the Classroom Calendar Project delivers calendars and class talks to children across Ontario, promoting the celebration of differences. Meanwhile, the Kick-It-Capes program produces hand-sewn superhero capes for children struggling with illnesses, with many delivered to KGH.
“From meeting so many individuals while we shoot our new calendars and getting to know them and their stories, to influencing students in classrooms about how we should be celebrating everyone’s uniqueness, it’s been a very enriching experience,” he said. “I truly don’t think I would have found anything like this at any other school.”
Megan Lovell of the triathlon team said the initiative was a group effort.
“We set the expectation that exec members and our varsity team will have a position in biking but we’ve always been open to as many members participating, and we’ve always focused on inclusivity within our club, which makes a great match with Happy Soul Project,” Lovell said in an interview.
“We want anyone who wants to be active to be able to participate in something that’s challenging them and has a structure to it.”
To help, donations can be made in-person during the event or directly on Happy Soul’s website.
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