Glynn A. Green students help organize support for families in need
BY VOICE STAFF
Glynn A. Green Elementary School’s Kids Helping Kids group, which organizes charity events throughout the school year, finished up the school’s Christmas efforts last week. This year, the school collected gifts for 10 local families in need of assistance, with each class chipping in to sponsor one of the families. Aryana Gardner, a Grade Seven student who has been involved with the club for four years, said that of all Kids Helping Kids initiatives, the Christmas one “is the best because we’re directly helping families in need.”
Grade Eight student Carly Elcich echoed Gardner’s words, saying that the group alternates Christmas initiatives, sometimes having a hat-and-mitten tree, but that Christmastime is always her favourite time to help out.
“It’s exciting because we know we’re helping kids have the same Christmases that we have,” she said.
This year, Elcich’s class had a family with three young girls, and Elcich said that her class enjoyed the range of gifts requested. “The younger ones want stuffed animals and dolls, while the thirteen year old is more interested in things like make-up,” she said. Nine of the ten families are ones from the community, while the tenth sponsored by the school is a Syrian refugee family who just arrived in Canada in the fall. Earlier this year Kids Helping Kids gathered food and supplies for the new arrivals, who were sponsored by the Pelham Syrian Refugee Constituent Group.
Elcich said that the school tried to make the family’s first Christmas in Canada—and likely first ever Christmas, considering that they are Muslim—a special one. She also emphasized the $100 gift cards included in each family’s hamper.
“The food is one of my favourite things at Christmas,” said Gardner. “Collecting canned food is good, but the gift cards will mean that they can have a Christmas dinner that’s fresh and will taste much better.”
One of Kids Helping Kids teacher supervisors, Todd L’Ecuyer, said much the same thing.
“You don’t want to have Christmas dinner out of can,” he said. L’Ecuyer was especially proud of the students’ efforts this year, saying that when the collected things were together, “it looked like a toy store.”
The school’s principal, Pam Voth, has been involved in many similar initiatives at other schools in years past, and said that she was impressed with Glynn A. Green’s collection efforts this Christmas. Voth pointed to the group effort, and mentioned that staff had specifically requested that they not be given Christmas gifts this year.
“Not that we expect Christmas presents from students,” said Voth, “but it’s something that happens, and this year the teachers asked that those things be given to the families we’re sponsoring.”
Voth spoke to the fact that Kids Helping Kids is a student-driven group, something that Elcich also found important.
“The Grade Ones and Twos start helping with posters and advertisements,” said Elcich. “Then juniors can get into announcements. Once you get to being in the intermediate grades, you start really being hands-on, counting money and other things like that.”
Kids Helping Kids typically organizes several major events in the school year, and after the drive for the refugee family and sponsoring of families for Christmas, it plans to run a dance-a-thon in the spring.
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