The Spirit of Generosity

“We envision an encouraging and understanding learning environment where everyone demonstrates  a sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.”

As we approach the Christmas season, we all have conversations with our students and with our own children that it is better to give than to receive.   In fact, generosity is one of the four directions of Dr. Martin Brokenleg’s Circle of Courage and is cited directly in our district’s vision statement.

As our students mature, our goal is that they will develop a sense of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.  We often talk about generosity last on that list because it is often the last sense to develop.  Those of us who have children know that it sometimes takes a long time for our own children to begin to think outside of themselves.

We’ve had two recent examples of generosity in our district, one global project and one local project.

At PSO Secondary in 100 Mile House, teachers Dave Henderson and Crystal Dawn Langton are working with their leadership students to raise funds to build a school in Sierra Leone. I had the opportunity to visit their class a couple of weeks ago. I was so impressed with how the students were able to passionately describe what they intend to do with the funds raised.

PSO Leadership students (left to right) Cassidy Lafreniere, Quinn Andrews, Kayla Cumiskey, Tiffany Melvin, Josie Jaeger, Richard Tracey, and Robert Parma proudly display their Brick by Brick poster.

PSO Leadership students (left to right) Cassidy Lafreniere, Quinn Andrews, Kayla Cumiskey, Tiffany Melvin, Josie Jaeger, Richard Tracey, and Robert Parma proudly display their Brick by Brick poster.

I asked PSO Secondary Grade 10 students, Quinn Andrews and Emilie Barnbrook, to describe their project:

What are you raising funds for?
Brick by Brick is a program hosted by Free the Children. The idea is that $20 equals one brick. This brick is symbolic of the physical elements that are needed to build a school, because in reality it will be put towards the necessities of school books, desks, windows, etc.

What is your goal?
Our goal is $10,000 in partnership with other schools in School District No. 27 to build a school.

Why is this important for you?
We are fundraising to build a school in a community without one. Education is freedom, it empowers you, unlocks doors, and gives you opportunities. In Canada, we are lucky to have a public education system, one that is often taken for granted. We want to enable everyone to have the opportunity to go to school and take charge of their lives. A school can create a ripple effect. The students will be affected, but so will their families, communities, and future generations.

You can find out more about PSO’s Brick by Brick project by watching this video made by the students themselves.

LCSS teachers Brent Morton and Dena Baumann perform at the recent Poverty Challenge Variety Show & Silent Auction

LCSS teachers Brent Morton and Dena Baumann perform at the recent Poverty Challenge Variety Show & Silent Auction in Williams Lake. Photo by LeRae Haynes (used with permission).

My last blog entry described a little bit about the Poverty Challenge in Williams Lake. Championed by recently retired custodian and longtime IUOE President Grant MacLeod, this year’s efforts began almost immediately after last year’s efforts ended. Fundraising efforts included student waffle sales, massive food drives at both elementary and secondary schools, and a culminating Poverty Challenge Variety Show & Silent Auction.

In total, staff, students, and community members donated an amazing total of $14,524.67 and 2.3 tons of food to the Williams Lake Salvation Army Food Bank. In addition to Grant MacLeod, thanks go to many School District No. 27 staff members who rallied their classes to donate food items. Special thanks go to staff members Catherine Getz, Melinda MacKinnon, Debbie Wilson, Sandee Davis, Danielle Mader, Dena Baumann, Brent Morton, Carla McIvor, Ryan Hanley and Shannon Rerie. Thanks must also go to the many parents who donated food items and to business owners and individuals who were very generous in their donations.

These are only a couple of examples of the spirit of generosity in our district.  Please include a comment below if you have another story about generosity in School District No. 27.

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries.  As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain.  While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel.  I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources.  While one of my goals for this blog is open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved.  Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

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