On Saturday 16, the charitable MEDLIFE chapter at York University hosted a car wash fundraiser at the parking lot of the Ward Funeral Home, just off of King and Weston.
Members of the team and invited volunteers all pitched in to commandeer the hoses, sponges and squeegees. Some danced up and down the intersection with bright neon posters to invite passing vehicles in for a five dollar wash – the team almost managed to score an off-duty bus driver.
Despite having to end an hour earlier due to rain, the team managed to raise a grand total of three hundred and eight dollars. All proceeds will go towards supporting MEDLIFE and its mission in providing aid for developing countries.
MEDLIFE, an acronym for Medicine, Education, and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere, is an organization that focuses on helping impoverished countries to break free of poverty while supplying medical aid, education, and developmental projects to build communal independence.
The program organizes weekly trips to countries where student volunteers can work with dentists, doctors, and other professionals to provide free healthcare for local residents. During this trip, students also assist in the construction of classrooms, stair cases to inaccessible clean water, and other key developmental infrastructure for the community. Though mainly situated in villages of South America, their endeavors have stretched out to other countries such as India and Tanzania and continue to expand.
MEDLIFE has branched out into numerous university chapters across the globe, just like Toronto’s York University – but not without the work of their president, Midila Anton.
“Throughout the year, we have two main goals: to spread awareness about the inequities that exist in impoverished villages around the world and to fundraise to help these areas – ultimately growing to become global citizens. Every month we host an event to raise awareness and raise money as well,” she explains. “But starting the club was a lot more work than expected.”
The MEDLIFE chapter at York University began in September of 2013 when Midila was invited by her friends from the University of Ottawa to attend a MEDLIFE trip to Cusco, Peru earlier that May. After spending a week with mobile clinics and assisting in the construction of an auditorium for an all-girls orphanage, Midila was inspired to create the same opportunities at her own university. Thus, the MEDLIFE YorkU chapter was opened several months later.
“The thing I love about MEDLIFEis that it’s not just about giving money, you’re provided with opportunities for hands-on learning. When you’re exposed to the realities of the environment in these developing nations, that’s when you get to really learn.”
At York University, the MEDLIFE chapter frequently hosts fundraising events throughout the year, such as samosa sales, button sales, and bowl-a-thons, raising just over a thousand dollars as they approach their one-year-anniversary.
“This is our second car wash of the summer because we didn’t realize how expensive supplies were in the beginning. But today was absolutely amazing,” Midila pauses for emphasis and quickly informs me that she needs this to be in the article. “Because a lot of my friends ended up coming out, and a lot of the exec’s friends came out. So when I look at the team who was here today, a lot of it wasn’t general members of MEDLIFE YorkU – it was friends of friends. They were here because they wanted to be here, they were here supporting something that I love.
That made my heart smile so much, I love my friends to the moon and back, and just the fact that they came was so heartwarming – it was ridiculous. They are such a strong support, not only for my endeavors with MEDLIFE, but for every other aspect of my life. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”
Keep an eye out for MEDLIFE YorkU’s other local fundraisers and next year’s annual summer car wash.
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