Six years ago, Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia, adopted JustWorld International’s People Improvement Organization Rice for Families Program in Cambodia. Ever since this partnership began, Thunderbird Show Park has exceeded the goals they set and expectations for raising funds. Last year, they raised a total of $28,812.92 CA, enabling them to fund JustWorld’s rice program. Setting a target of $25,000 CA, Thunderbird far exceeded its fundraising goal this year by bringing in $32,000 CA from its various fundraising activities, the most funds raised to date.
JustWorld was excited to be part of the Nations Cup week at Thunderbird this June and CSI3* $135,600 Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier, continuing to raise awareness and funds for their partner projects. Thanks to the generous donations of vendors, local supporters, and of course Thunderbird Show Park, multiple silent auctions proved to be a huge success. The auctions included fantastic items such as a Longines watch, Tiffany Foster’s signed Olympic jackets, and an exquisite wine cruise. JustWorld was also thrilled to receive two roundtrip tickets from the Air Canada Foundation for the second year in a row. The drawing of this tremendous donation item helped to raise more than $5,000 CA.
During the second week of the August competition, the fun-filled Grooms’ Class took the spotlight in the ring on Thursday, August 25th. For this class, spectators made donations that went towards the prizes for the participating grooms as well as JustWorld. Thunderbird Show Park matched the grooms’ cash donations to help raise even more funds. During the Steel-Craft Doors Grand Prix on August 26th, Thunderbird held a “Clear the Jump” for JustWorld. Spectators and riders alike made a pledge to JustWorld and each time the JustWorld jump during the competition was cleared, the pledge amount would be applied.
All of the funds Thunderbird raised support JustWorld’s partner project People Improvement Organization (PIO) in Cambodia. JustWorld works with PIO to fund construction and support operational costs for two schools: Stung Mean Chey at a municipal garbage dump and Borey Keila in an urban slum. As a result of JustWorld’s support last year, 850 students received an education, scoring above average on national public school exams, a daily lunch and health care.
Thunderbird specifically supports the Rice for Families Project. Each student with good attendance receives 5 kg of rice each month for their family, reducing the need for them to gather food scraps or pick through trash to earn money for food for their families instead of going to school. Because of the increase in funds Thunderbird raised this year, more children will be able to benefit from the rice program. Thunderbird is helping give 560 children the ability to go to school with the proper nutrition and tools for success.
Jane Tidball, President of Thunderbird Show Park, visited PIO in 2013 to see first hand the effect of the Rice for Families Project on the children who attend the schools. Jane explained that the trip was a “life changer”. “I arrived to the smiles of hundreds of children who have benefited from JustWorld’s programs. I was able to sit and talk to children about their goals for the future, something that we are helping to make a reality.”
The success of the fundraising initiatives are a culmination of hard work thanks to Thunderbird Show Park, JustWorld, and wonderful supporters. Jane Tidball, Show President, and Chris Pack, Vice President of Operations, are strong ambassadors of JustWorld and continue to think outside the box for ways to help more and more children. Kim McDougall, lead volunteer, and JustWorld Ambassadors Megan Dalton and Claire McDonald have been tremendous supporters year after year.
This year’s Dianne Tidball Legacy Scholarship recipients Lauren Mercer and Sophia MacInnes also helped to support JustWorld’s fundraising initiatives during the summer. JustWorld is looking forward to everyone coming together again next year to continue to raise awareness and funds, sending the message that working towards a common goal of helping the children truly makes a difference.