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Students putting WE into action

Grade 6 students at Park Manor Senior Public School in Elmira have made it their mission to ensure that no child in the community goes without a winter coat this winter season.

To that end, several students organized their first Coats for Kids clothing drive in order to provide gently used coats to those in the community who cannot afford one.

“It’s Canada. Some kids have to walk around in the winter without a proper coat on, and it’s sad,” said Jennifer Wilson, one of the students who organized the campaign.

Back in October, Wilson and fellow students Jacob Searles and Saxon Musselman made a keynote presentation in the library to the school’s principal as to why they wanted to start collecting coats and cash donations.

WINTER WARMTH Grade 6 Park Manor students Avery Klooster (left), Jennifer Wilson, Jacob Searles, Riley King, Lexie Steffler and Alex Schott have spent the past few weeks organizing their Coats for Kids campaign to collect gently used coats and cash donations. Not pictured are fellow organizers Saxon Musselman and Emma Bader.

The students were motivated by the school’s We in Action team, which is associated with the Toronto-based charity Free The Children that aims to increase awareness of child exploitation and poverty in the developing world.

“I was very inspired,” said principal James Bond of the student’s presentation and the organization of their clothing drive. “These students wanted to help other kids who don’t have as much as they have, which is perfect.”

The students teamed up with the 30 or so students that are a part of the We in Action team from Grades 6, 7 and 8 to make posters and to spread the word about the coat drive.

They have set up a desk in the main hallway as well as the gymnasium, and have given up their recesses and lunch periods to organize and implement the program.

Other students who joined the cause said they did so because they wanted to help those who may have fallen on hard times in the economic downturn and may not be able to afford a winter coat.

“I thought it was a really good cause, there are a lot of people losing jobs and there aren’t as many jobs, so they won’t have enough money to buy winter coats,” said Grade 6 student Riley King.

Not only has the principal been impressed by the student’s initiative, their teachers have noticed as well.

“Sometimes it’s hard for a Grade 6 student who is fairly new to the school to come in front of the principal and ask to made a presentation for a cause that they feel strongly about,” said Grade 6 French teacher Melanie Jespersen, a supervisor for the We in Action team.

“We’ve been impressed with the organization of it and the maturity that they have brought forward for a good worthy cause.”

So far the students have collected three coats and more than $200 and they will be collecting donations until school breaks for Christmas holidays on Dec. 23.

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