Esquimalt firefighter Sean Owens

Students help students at schools across Greater Victoria

There’s no better time of year than Christmas for schools to instil the spirit of generosity and altruism in their students.

  • Dec. 20, 2013 10:00 a.m.

There’s no better time of year than Christmas for schools to instil the spirit of generosity and altruism in their students.

With that in mind, several schools within the Greater Victoria School District are focusing on “supporting our own” by building Christmas hampers, complete with food and toys, for less fortunate families within the school system.

“Every Christmas I wake up and I know there’s going to be presents, I know we’re going to  have a turkey dinner.

“It’s really hard to imagine hearing about all this great stuff your friends are doing, and waking up on Christmas morning with next to nothing,” said Jonah Heyman, a Grade 8 student at Gordon Head middle school.

Students at the Saanich middle school created dozens of hampers that were delivered late last week by Esquimalt firefighters to 14 families at a Greater Victoria elementary school.

Down the street at Mount Douglas secondary, students filled hampers to help 35 families within the district.

Both schools work with youth and family counsellors to get a better sense of the families they’re assisting, to tailor the donations to that family’s needs and wants.

“We find out about these families, in confidence, for the ages and genders of the kids, and the family dynamic. And those kids come up with lists for Santa: ‘If I could get this for Christmas.’ And we were able to fulfill that for 35 families,” said Shawn Boulding, principal at Mount Doug.

“It’s really cool for our kids to see their act of giving, and see the effect it has on other kids.”

John Gaiptman, superintendent of SD61, says all schools in the school district – even those where less fortunate families were the recipients of food and gift hampers – did their part to give this holiday season.

“It is important that every child, regardless of their circumstances, understands what a good feeling it is to give, to be involved in a charitable event,” he said.

“It’s very much a community spirit. Our students understand that they’re part a community in Greater Victoria, and there’s always going to be people and families either across town or down the street that are less fortunate.”

Nadine Naughton, vice-principal at Gordon Head middle, says it’s a thrill getting to witness her students helping other students in the region.

“We’re becoming increasingly aware of what it means to educate the whole person – it’s not just about the literacy and the numeracy. There’s an aboriginal belief that wealth is not what you have, but it’s what you give away, and that’s what we’re trying to instil,” she said.

“We want them to be fortified as human beings, and that teaching starts right away in kindergarten.”

“In kindergarten you’re taught ‘sharing is caring’ and ‘love one another.’ But as you progress you tend to forget about that; you think more about yourself,” said 13-year-old Heyman. “Things like this bring back that kindergarten part of you – it’s good to share, good to give back. If we don’t do this through school, we’ll probably forget about being altruistic and generous as adults.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria woman accesses healing Burn Fund resources 45 years after injury

Stasi Manser was burned when she was five years old and now works as an adult burn survivor advocate

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

PRIDE on the Barge caps off last Friday of Pride Month

Starting at 5 p.m. with music from Rocksteady

Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

Pepper’s Foods will start selling jams previously sold through roadside stand

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read