A group of Breslau Public School students have raised $400 for the St. John’s Kitchen.
The downtown Kitchener agency caters to homeless people in the community, those who are at risk of homelessness or what’s known as street involved. The centre serves upwards of 300 people a midday hot meal, while also providing a space for people to enjoy each other’s company Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through to mid-afternoon.
Having established a connection with the organization, the school’s athletic council leadership group has done initiatives throughout the year to benefit the group. One, for instance, saw the school carry out a spices-and-mugs drive around Thanksgiving when St. John’s was looking for donations of spice to make chilli.
For this current initiative, the Grade 7 and 8 students bagged and sold candy-grams for Valentine’s Day, bringing in upwards of $1,300, $400 of which is being donated to St. John’s.
“I think it is a good chance to be a good role model for younger kids so that when they grow up they can volunteer too. It’s good to help out,” noted Chanithi Bandaranayake, one of the active members of the athletic council on the importance of giving back to the community. “It’s a good chance to be a good citizen.”
“Your community has a closeness that when there is a hardship you are there for each other and so when you give back to your community it’s just good,” added Ayesha Munir, also in the group.
The leadership group at Breslau conduct activities throughout the school that have anything to do with either leadership initiatives or athletic activities, doing such things as fundraising, promoting school events, refereeing intramurals or being leaders for younger student.
“Basically it’s the social consciousness along with the athletic aspect too,” explained one of the organizing teachers, Chris Wade.
Being a part of a group that not only takes on a leadership role in the school, but also extending into the community helps to establish a desire for volunteerism early on, one that Wade hopes will help to drive them to continue on later on in life.
“They are at the age that that social awareness is very important and they are role models for younger students being the oldest grades in the school. Most of them have come up through Breslau from junior kindergarten, so it’s their way of giving back,” he said. “It also allows them to get ready for the future. The grade eights going into Grade 9 where community service is required, and the Grade 7s get a little taste of what it will be like to be the leaders in Grade 8. It’s a combination of all those things, but it is also an outlet for them to show leadership and get that experience.”