A recent chat with teacher Michelle Lilyanna has mobilized Grade 6 students at Roberts Creek Elementary School to give back to their community.
Lilyanna asked her students if they had read in Coast Reporter newspaper about the issue of hunger on the Coast and the need for food in the local food bank. Many students raised their hands and said they had. But little did they know that their own school breakfast program was out of muffins and that the cupboards were bare.
‘What can we do?’ was the next question, and students brainstormed throughout the morning. Several students wanted to do a food drive and set up a raffle in the school. For each can donated, a ticket on a prize was given. By the following Monday all students had been part of a bake-a-thon to fill the school freezer with muffins. Parents jumped in to volunteer time and services.
“This is a unique group of students,” said Lilyanna. “I have had them for social studies for two years. We have had a field trip to meet with Dale at the Food Bank, sort food and learn about hunger on the Coast. We know the impact that donations make to local families.”
The students also know of the impacts that they can have worldwide.
“Last summer I met Nicki Shouela, a woman who started her own school in Uganda, the Stand Tall Education Centre in Kampala,” Lilyanna said. “We became friends and my students have become pen pals with the group. After having Nicki in the school telling students about her school, the children in the class again asked, “What can we do to help?”
Through toy sales, babysitting money and raffles, the students raised more than $800 and bought food for two days for all the children in the Ugandan school, a medical bed and several gifts for the children. All money was raised through the children working. Students also raised money for the Sunshine Coast wildlife group and the gift of sight through Seva Canada (www.seva.ca).
Lilyanna is currently co-chair of the Sunshine Coast Teachers’ Association social justice committee. After meeting last week with the school district team, the group voted to donate $200, a sum put aside by the SCTA for a social justice cause, to support the students of Roberts Creek in giving to the local food bank.
The students will take the $200 and shop locally for groceries to give to the food bank.
Lilyanna has applied for Me to We tickets and is hoping to take a group to Vancouver in October to the huge gathering (see www.metowe.com).
Her grade 3/4 class will also be going to the food bank. As a group, under their own initiative, they raised $135 to stop puppy mills by selling books and toys at lunch hour.
“The whole school is amazing. We are a Me to We school. Nothing is impossible for this group of social change activists,” she said.