Contest mobilizes students

The Belbin family of Nanaimo was picked as one of six families to compete in the national Energy Diet Challenge.

Tristan Thomas

When the Belbin family of Nanaimo was picked as one of six families to compete in the national Energy Diet Challenge, one of their goals was to spread the message of energy conservation as widely as possible.

Drew and Kai Belbin, students at Hammond Bay Elementary School, decided to sponsor a raffle for a bicycle to encourage their friends to get more exercise and leave the cars out of the school parking lot.

“Every time a student walked to school, rode their bike or took the bus, they got an entry form,” said Drew, a Grade 5 student at the school.

Wearing their Energy Challenge jackets, Drew and Kai, a Grade 2 student, arrived early every morning to greet students and hand out the entry forms.

In addition, every Monday morning, the two read their Energy Tip of the Week as part of the school’s announcements.

The student’s parents, Grant and Alison Belbin, are proud of the kids for not only coming up with the idea for the contest, but taking charge of the draw barrel, writing the weekly announcements and arranging for a donated bicycle from Oak Bay Bicycles, which also donated a helmet.

Tristan Thomas, a Grade 1 student, had her name drawn from 285 prize entries.

The three-month national competition, now in its final week, pitted the Belbins against five other families from across Canada, measuring energy use, ability to spread the word on energy conservation, public voting and the quality of related blogs on the website.

Nanaimo residents can still support the family by going to

Pubic voting closes Sunday (Dec. 4).

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