The Power of 30

Students across Canada go hungry to feed others.

By Ceilidh Millar

The 30 Hour Famine is the world’s biggest youth fundraiser, sponsored by World Vision, a leading humanitarian organization helping children and families around the world. Students unite to raise money to fund World Vision projects. Famine participants get a real taste of what it’s like to experience hunger by going without food for 30 hours. The movement started 40 years ago, when a group of Alberta teens went hungry to protest the famine in Ethiopia. Since then, the campaign has grown worldwide, with 500,000 youth raising $30 million a year. In 2010, 60,000 Canadians raised over $3 million to improve our global community.

Lighting The Way

One of those Canadians is synthpop musician LIGHTS. An ambassador for World Vision, LIGHTS accepted the challenge to go hungry and fasted for 30 hours. As spokesperson for the campaign, she states, “The 30 Hour Famine is a great way for just about anyone to get involved in helping those in need. You don’t have to travel far to do it, and it becomes about motivating and inspiring your friends and donors in the process.”


Not only did LIGHTS agree to go foodless for a day, but in 2010, she went back to the Philippines with World Vision to witness the effects of poverty firsthand. LIGHTS spent part of her childhood in the Philippines, an experience that she says made her who she is today. “You learn to appreciate what you have in different ways. When you see people with next to nothing still living and loving their families, you start to re-evaluate what is actually important to your happiness.” Although the country is still greatly affected by poverty, she says the situation is improving thanks to campaigns like the 30 Hour Famine. “Communities are becoming safer. Children are given the help they need to be taken off the street, out of hunger and prostitution.”

LIGHTS is clearly a role model for youth here in Canada and around the world. She believes in using her voice to advocate for causes she’s passionate about. “If you have something to say, say it! The important thing is to understand what you believe in and not be afraid to stand by it. It will not only help you build a strong sense of yourself, but will also inspires those around you to be themselves too.” LIGHTS encourages everyone to get involved in something they are passionate about. “All you have to do is go for it!”

Compassionate and Caring Global Citizens

Another young woman inspiring others is Michelle Vanderzon, a student from Dawson College in Montreal and 2010–2011Youth Ambassador for World Vision. “I first got involved with World Vision through the 30 Hour Famine campaign at my high school. I’ve participated and helped run the event every year since.” Michelle discovered her passion for helping others while traveling overseas with the organization. “Volunteering in India and Africa allowed me to see the world as a whole, to see its struggles, its cultures, its beauty, its people and its hope . . . things I would never have been able to grasp or even imagine in my sheltered Canadian life.” The experience changed her, and she is now studying to become a human rights lawyer so that she can use her voice to speak for those without a voice. “My work with World Vision allowed me to have direction. I knew I wanted to devote my life to helping others, but I didn’t know how. My entire time in Rwanda, every person I met, I wanted to be able to speak up for them. I knew if I became a human rights lawyer I could do just that!”

According to LIGHTS, the best thing about being a girl is “being beautiful and powerful all in the same moment.” Vervegirl readers will agree, these inspiring young women are prime examples!

For information on how you can get involved in the 30 Hour Famine contact:


Volunteering is fun and educational. It’s a great way to develop new skills while making a difference and giving back to your community! Here are some cool volunteer opportunities:

Pet lover? Volunteer at your local animal shelter or veterinary office.

Interested in TV? Volunteer at your community television station.

Fashionista? Charity clothing stores and thrift shops can use your help.

Snow angel? Keep a senior’s driveway and sidewalk clear of snow and ice.

Visit your school’s counselling office, the public library or Volunteer Canada for more volunteer opportunities. Visit for more info.

Go to to read about Laura Schlee’s trip to Uganda with World Vision. Do you have a suggestion about ways to complete your volunteer hours? Why not start a forum here and share them with other Vervegirls?