Despite COVID-19, Riverside Rapids is continuing the fight for the malnourished in Somalia through this year’s MOVE4MANA campaign.

The Riverside Rapids are at it again this year with their second annual MOVE4MANA fundraiser. Despite COVID-19 and all the struggles that accompany it, Ms. Claudia Durand, the lead sponsor of the initiative, and her team are not going to let the pandemic stop them from fighting for this cause.

MOVE4MANA is a fundraiser where students quite literally move. The goal is for students to get up and be active for a 21 day period, to track their activity in the Active for Good app, to earn MANA, and from then on, to distribute the MANA packets to those suffering from malnutrition. What’s MANA? MANA stands for Mother Administered Nutritive Aid. RUTF, the food packs refers to Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food, provided to Riverside by the Food for Famine Society.

Dance Activity team getting in the spirit for M4M!!

For reference, just one day of activity will earn three RUTF packets…now multiply those three packets per day by 21 and that amount is what going to help many children in need.

This year, the RUTF packets will be distributed to the millions of children in Somalia who suffer severe malnutrition. Once the school’s initiative has come to an end, World Vision Canada takes the lead and sponsors the transportation of the RUTF packets where needed.

MOVE4MANA is a heartfelt movement where students, teachers, organizers, and others connect all throughout the school and community. However, connecting this year has become especially difficult, due to COVID-19.

According to Durand, one of the most difficult aspects is planning the event. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, the MOVE4MANA team has been split up into groups and as a result, coordinating with one another has been difficult. Fortunately, they have embraced the divide and conquer method. Apart from the different preparation for MOVE4MANA’s launch, other effects include the cancellation of the assembly and limited physical lunch activities to organize; compared to last year, this year will a bit more muted but still meaningful.

“Seeing the school come together with a common goal, especially during this difficult time with COVID-19 is beautiful to see.  Working with such a dedicated team of students and teachers who passionately believe that what they are doing is making a difference is incredible,” said Ms. Durand.

Despite the challenges COVID-19 has brought forth, there are, however, positive changes that have come to light, such as a newly implemented mental health week that will take place during the initiative. Finding inner peace and contributing to a global health crisis at once? With yoga, meditation, and even journaling, this years’ efforts seem like a win-win!

Ultimately, in spite of the challenges, COVID-19 has provided, the Rapids are all persevering and working harder than ever to overcome them all.

MOVE4MANA has and always been a time of great reflection and great contributions. For years, it’s been a movement fueled and driven by students and their passion for giving back to the world. It’s more than a fundraiser. The initiative has become an enormous production and a widespread act of love that everyone has a part in.

Tiera Skovbye – celebrity endorser for M4M.

“By bettering yourself you can do so much to aid others. MOVE4MANA helped me to open up my eyes and see the possibilities to help myself and others at the same time,” said Veniça Davignon, a grade eleven member of the MOVE4MANA team.

Natasha Calis – celebrity endorser for M4M.

MOVE4MANA is about giving back. Whether it’s to your community, the world, or yourself in a way – every step one takes in participation, makes a difference. This year two celebrity endorsers are supporting Riverside’s involvement with MOVE4MANA; one is Natasha Calis and the other is Tiera Skovbye. Both are excited to be a part of the process. “This initiative is such a unique and particularly powerful movement for a school to advocate and work so intimately with. The fact that your school is a part of something so big and important is incredible and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to help in any way I could,” said Calis. “I think it’s so inspiring how the whole Riverside community comes together and gets involved in MOVE4MANA. It’s such a powerful and rewarding project to be a part of and I think it’s very special that so many students recognize that.”

So Riverside, stay tuned to social media and announcements about MOVE4MANA and get involved!