For his community project through Georgian College’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, student Che Cleland decided to combine three things he loves: helping kids, rock music and zombies.
The father of three, who is in the Social Service Worker program, created ZombieFest for Youth!, an event-based social enterprise dedicated to raising funds and awareness for youth initiatives.
ZombieFest for Youth!’s inaugural event will be Sunday, April 17, in Orillia. Participants are invited to raise pledges, dress up as the walking dead, participate in a classic zombie walk, and then rock out at a live concert at Georgian’s Orillia Campus. Proceeds will help create a much-needed youth shelter and transitional home.
“There are currently only 26 youth shelter beds in all of Simcoe County,” explains Cleland. “Just from an awareness point of view, this event will help.” The former web designer will perform in the rock concert that caps off the event. Concert-goers will also enjoy a small fair with food, artisans and information booths.
The project has already gained support from the community. Harvey’s Orillia has made a $1,000 donation and the Orillia Youth Centre (OYC) is an active partner.
Cleland has also enlisted the support of fellow students. They recently held a pie-a-prof fundraiser at the Orillia Campus. Students and staff – including Dean Mary O’Farrell Bowers – lined up to squash whipped cream onto faculty members’ faces.
Cleland is excited about the momentum the project is gaining. “It seems to be resonating with people,” he says. “If I could do one of these next year and keep building on it, it would be awesome.”
Zombie lovers and youth supporters can register at zombiefest.ca until April 14. Those who miss the registration deadline can bring a $25 donation to the event to take part.
Article courtesy Georgian College; photos courtesy Rafael Chacon, SSW student.