A group of 26 articling students from 18 different Toronto law firms have come together to organize the second annual Give a Night event, a fundraiser being held in downtown Toronto to benefit people with AIDS in Africa.
“It’s a takeoff from the Give A Day campaign,” explains committee co-chairwoman Jennifer Kelley, “and Give A Day is organized to promote everyone to give a day of their salary and the proceeds from that go towards the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International.”
Kelley is an articling student at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP who recently graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law. She says organizing an event of this magnitude alongside her normal daily duties has kept her extremely busy, but that it’s been worth it.
A lawyer at her firm initially introduced her to the project. She also had a connection to the cause, after spending some time in Africa in October.
“I had just been in Africa,” says Kelley, “and I really wanted, I think it’s really important, for us to give back to the community and I really believe that we’re all kind of in it together. And I thought it would be fun to work with other students; it was a great way to network and it’s just ended up being a really great experience.”
The event was created last year by two articling students, who thought it would be a good idea to throw a cocktail event coinciding with the Give A Day campaign, which Kelley says is very big in the legal community.
“And they made sure that it wasn’t an Osler-run event,” says Kelley. “Definitely all firms across Toronto that want to participate are welcome to. And that’s really what has made it successful for us, because we have a committee of about 26 students from 18 different law firms. So ticket sales have just gone through the roof…
Kelley says they plan on surpassing last year’s total of $3,400.
“Last year, they didn’t sell tickets in advance, and there was a huge snowstorm, so only 150 people showed up,” she says.
But this time they’ve already managed to sell 350 tickets in advance (at $10 each), with more available at the door. A silent auction is also in the works, with articling students combing the city looking for donations from various companies.
“We formed our own little committee; we have people dealing with the marketing, we’ve done a Facebook page, we have a flyer made up,” she says.
“This is all students,” reminds Kelley.
A big part of this year’s event will be an awareness campaign, Kelley tells Canadian Lawyer 4Students, because “a big part of the event is that we don’t just want people to show up and donate money through the ticket and not really know what they’re giving their money to.”
All of the donations will go directly to the Give A Day campaign, which will then distribute the funds to the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International.
“The Stephen Lewis Foundation funds community-based initiatives in Africa, which assists those who are living with AIDS,” says Kelley. “And then Dignitas International implements community-based programs and engages in prevention research and educations to improve the international response to AIDS.”
Some of the students Kelley is working with have worked pro bono with Dignitas, “doing things such as researching the laws in a certain country in Africa so that Dignitas can put together pamphlets for women about rape and how they can protect themselves for AIDS, etc.,” she says.
The event takes place at C Lounge, 456 Wellington St. W. on Thursday, Nov. 27. The silent auction will run from 7 to 10 p.m., with the party continuing on late into the night.
For tickets or more information contact Larry Nevsky, email@example.com or 416-646-3463.