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October 24, 2002 CASA Cares puts the fun in fundraising



by Louise Solomita

Belly dancing, freestyle rapping, and a Michael Jackson impersonation were just a few of the acts students performed on January 22 at a talent show in the D.B. Clarke Theatre.

It was the first of what promises to be an annual event organized by CASA Cares, a division of Concordia’s Commerce and Administration Students Association.

The performers, most of them Concordia students, demonstrated a wide variety of talents and an overarching sense of dedication to a worthy cause. “The experience was so positive that it motivates us to do an even better job next year,” said Erika Maddoo, one of the show’s organizers and president of CASA Cares.

The student group organizes events to encourage student involvement and generate money for donation to charity. Other CASA Cares activities include a back-to-school barbecue, a bachelor auction and an annual fashion show.

Last week’s talent show raised $1,000 for the Club des Petits Dejeuners du Quebec, which serves breakfast in primary schools located in underprivileged areas across the province. “We wanted to help a cause that was close to home,” Maddoo said.

The 150 people who attended the show were both supportive of the cause and impressed by the diversity and quality of the entertainment. This included a ribald stand-up comedy act by Deliso Chaponda and barbershop and a capella songs by student band The Crew.

There were also a wide variety of dancing and musical acts; Maddoo and fellow CASA Cares executive Evgueni Chaoulski closed the show with a sultry dance number.

Between acts, masters of ceremony Doug Bastien, Mandie Ciotucha, Simon Khoury and Triffin Nankobogo kept the crowd laughing with antics and commentary, even staging a mock audition panel cutely dubbed “Concordian Idol.”

After the show, Sisi Leboeuf, a co-ordinator for Le Club des Petits Déjeuners du Québec, thanked the audience. “Un gros merci,” she said from the stage, accompanied by a bleary-eyed little girl who was awake long past her bedtime, “Ça nous touche beaucoup.”

Why do these busy students take on such challenges in addition to the demands of schoolwork? Maddoo explained that working for charities is rewarding in itself.

She also emphasized, however, that being involved with CASA is, above all, a lot of of fun. “The experience you get out of being part of an association is fabulous,” she said.

Members of CASA Cares is already hard at work on its annual fashion show, scheduled for March. All proceeds will go to World Vision, an international relief and development agency.