As part of her participation in the Miss Teenage Canada pageant next month, 18-year-old Courtney-Taylor Farinha is organizing a Free the Children fundraiser.
The “A Night in the Life” fundraiser, which takes place starting at 5:30 p.m. July 13 at the Caruso Club, includes a dinner, live music, a dance and a silent auction.
The Miss Teenage Canada participant who raises the most money for Free the Children is given the chance to volunteer abroad for the charity for two weeks, something Farinha said she's always wanted to do.
The Grade 12 Confederation Secondary School student said she hopes to raise at least $10,000 for the charity, which focuses on sustainable development in developing countries and encourages youth from developed countries to make a difference in the world.
This isn't Farinha's first involvement with Free the Children.
As a member of the Rainbow District School Board's student senate, she was involved with bringing former child soldier and Free the Children speaker Michel Chikwanine to Sudbury this spring.
Farinha said she's hoping she can get Chikwanine to record a video message to be played at her fundraiser.
She won the right to compete in Miss Teenage Canada through her participation in Miss North Ontario in May.
She made the top 10 at Miss North Ontario and was also awarded the runner-up “Beauty with a Purpose” title for her volunteer work. Not bad considering it was her first pageant.
“I wasn't expecting it whatsoever,” Farinha said. “I really just did it for the fun of it, and just for the experience.”
Farinha, who has been involved in her school's Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving chapter, volunteered at the soup kitchen and organized school food drives, said community involvement is important to her.
The Hanmer resident, who will be competing at Miss Teenage Canada as Miss Teenage Valley East, said she's excited for the pageant, which takes place July 18-26.
She admits she's nervous, though.
“It'll be in front of a lot of people, and I have stage fright,” Farinha said.
Tickets to the Free the Children fundraiser, which cost $40 each, can be purchased by visiting courtneyfarinha.squarespace.com.