Robert F. Hall’s Female Empowerment Club fundraises for Family Transition Place 

March 16, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Zachary Roman

High school students in Caledon East are empowering each other to become the next generation of leaders.

The Female Empowerment Club at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School is not only making a difference in Caledon East — it’s also positively impacting the lives of women in the surrounding community.

On International Women’s Day (Mar. 8) the club hosted a candy sale with all proceeds going to Family Transition Place (FTP), which is also known as the Orangeville Women’s Shelter. 

Julia DeCaria, co-executive of the Female Empowerment Club alongside Danielle Ferri, explained that since this past September, the club has arranged events such as a breast cancer awareness campaign, a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women campaign, and most recently, the “Candy for a Cause” campaign in honour of International Women’s Day.

Female Empowerment Club members were positioned at stations around Robert F. Hall on March 8, selling jumbo sour keys and lollipops to students for a dollar each. Sales ran through all three of the high school’s lunch periods and over 50 pounds of candy was sold. By the end of the sale, the club had raised $673 for FTP.

Alongside the sale was a photo-op station and a “Wheel of Women” interactive trivia station.

DeCaria explained that students had the opportunity to spin the wheel and win a prize if they could name the female role model and one fun fact about them. 

DeCaria, a Grade 12 student, joined the Female Empowerment Club this school year. The club was founded last school year by Ferri’s cousin, Sophia Zunino, who has since graduated.

“We’ve been trying to carry it on and make it bigger and better,” said DeCaria.

The club now has over 45 members, making it one of the largest in the school. It had between 20 and 25 in its founding year.

The response from fellow students to the club has been amazing, said DeCaria, with those involved and not involved in the club itself showing their support. There are students in the club from every grade, every walk of life, and it’s not just girls in the club, either. DeCaria said while it is a Female Empowerment Club, it has a social justice focus as well.

The club meets once every two weeks for about two hours after school. If there’s an event upcoming that the club is hosting (such as the recent candy sale), members will be busy planning, delegating tasks, and working on the event.

If there’s no events upcoming, the club meets to talk about one of the topics chosen for discussion at meetings at the start of the year by club members. 

“For example, we had some students that wanted to talk about pay inequality between men and women in sports,” said DeCaria. “We’ve covered feminist issues around the world… one of the main things we try to focus on in the club is empowering the members in our club, giving them the opportunity to rise to the occasion as leaders and making them feel confident in themselves.”

With the discussions club members have, they try to touch on topics that may not be found in their curriculum at school. DeCaria said the club does its best to make sure all of its members’ ideas are heard and talked about.

It was earlier this school year that the club decided it wanted to do something to support an organization in the community. Since FTP was the closest women’s shelter to Robert F. Hall, the club decided it would be the perfect non-profit to support with their candy sale.

“We figured they’ll know best how to use the money… and the second students see candy, they’ll drop money on it,” said DeCaria. “Honestly, it went a lot better than we expected.”

Students were very inclined to donate when they learned the club was fundraising for FTP, said DeCaria, and some donated their money even though they didn’t want any candy.

“That was really sweet,” said DeCaria. 

DeCaria’s favourite part of being in the Female Empowerment Club is getting to see club members become more confident in themselves.

“They’ve really developed a passion for helping others, looking out for others,” she said. “The sense of teamwork and friendship that I’ve gotten out of it… has been amazing. I think the best thing of all is all of us are coming together to support the greater good.”

DeCaria said the Female Empowerment Club has so many strong and dedicated individuals who will be future leaders. She wanted to thank Mrs. Mancini, the teacher representative of the club, and Mrs. Speranza, Robert F. Hall’s principal, for their support of the club.

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