British Columbia

Accessible swing set coming to Surrey school thanks to 13-year-old student

Forget the lemonade stand: Channee Sekhon had bigger ideas when it came to fundraising for an accessible swing set at her school.

Channee Sekhon raised money after seeing special needs friends left out of playground games

Channee Sekhon and her two siblings raised $11,000 in a just a few minutes to pay for an inclusive swing for their special needs classmates. (CBC)

A 13-year-old Surrey student and her two siblings raised $11,000 in a just a few minutes to pay for an inclusive swing for their special needs classmate.

Channee Sekhon told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot there are quite a few special needs students at her school, Green Timbers Elementary, and they deserved to be included in playground activities.

"One kid in my class, he's been in my class since kindergarten, he's always been on the side while we were doing things," she said. "I was always kind of felt bad because he wasn't able to do everything."

To help with that problem, the school wanted to build a special swing for special needs students, but the price tag was steep at $18,000.

The school could only up with $7,000.

Channee's father, Gurjinder Sekhon, came up with an idea: Channee could solicit donations from the company he worked for, Sussex Insurance.

At the company's annual retreat, Channee addressed her father's colleagues with a speech and PowerPoint presentation about the importance of inclusion.

“It’s very good that she’s very caring. I hope she continues to do that,” Gurjinder Sekhon said of his daughter. (CBC)

"I was very nervous on the day. I wasn't expecting such a great turnout," Channee said.

Channee's father was watching — and he was nervous too.

"I never watched her speak in front of people," he said. "She did a very good job."

About two minutes after the speech ended, the money was put forward by Gurjinder Sekhon's colleagues and a matching donation from the company's head office.

Channee says she's thrilled the fundraising was so successful, and she's glad her friend will be able to play with the other kids.

"When he sees the swing, I know he'll be happy," she said.

Gurjinder Sekhon says he's proud of his daughter.

"It's very good that she's very caring. I hope she continues to do that," he said.

Gurjinder Sekhon says construction of the swing will begin in August and should be finished for the coming school year.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: 13-year-old student raises $11,000 for accessible swing set at school