Oak Bay High students Jane Lindroos

Oak Bay High students Jane Lindroos

Oak Bay High students lock up locals for fundraiser

The school’s Jail Bail event, takes place at Victoria’s Bay Centre, May 4

A group of Oak Bay High school students are rounding up the usual suspects and throwing them in the clink.

The school’s Jail Bail event, taking place at Victoria’s Bay Centre May 4, will help students raise money for a humanitarian trip to Mexico in 2014, where they will build two homes for impoverished families.

The trip happens every two years and takes two years of fundraising.

Jane Lindroos and Ella van Neutegem went on last year’s trip, to a small poverty-stricken village called Vicente Guerrero, where they helped construct two homes for families, spent time with the local school and bonded with the residents of the village. They say the experience changed their lives.

“Just the appreciation and the love we got from everyone there because they knew what we were doing,” Lindroos said. “Realizing how lucky we are. Obviously, we know how lucky we are, but once you see how other people live, it’s mind boggling.”

The two are the only returning students for the 2014 trip and, as such, are spearheading the fundraising events and teaching the younger students as they go.

The students are hoping to raise just under $20,000; $12,000 for construction supplies and about $6,000 to furnish the new homes and stock them with starter groceries. Any extra money will be donated to the local school, by way of supplies.

“Seeing the looks on their faces and how appreciative they are of it,” said van Neutegem. “It’s just something that really touches you because you feel so special to be a part of something that can change their lives.”

The students pay their own travel expenses, along with a $900 set price for room and board while they’re away.

The Jail Bail is just one fundraiser for the trip, but the students hope it will be a key component. About 15 people will be put under lock and key, some of them local notables such as Oak Bay High principal Dave Thomson, a wheelchair rugby national team player and some radio and TV personalities.

The “prisoners” will be “arrested” by the Oak Bay Police in the morning and transported to The Bay Centre cells until they get sprung. Donors, however, will have the choice to give money either to get people out, or keep them in. Each prisoner has their own predetermined amount of money that will bail them out.

At the end of the day the prisoners will be released regardless of whether they’ve made bail.

Visiting hours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the bottom level of the mall, where people are encouraged to come learn more about the trip and donate money.

The trips, called Hero Holidays, are arranged through an organization called Live Different, based out of Hamilton, Ont.