Ecole Routhier Grade 3 French Immersion class presents a cheque to FCSS director Crystal Tremblay to help contribute to the food bank. In the front row, left-right, are Mackenzie Reed, Caleb Isert, Kaleb-Adam Capili, and Evan Brulotte. In the middle row, left-right, are teacher Jenny St. Jean, Hazen Hicks, Zander Labrecque, Franchesca Feeney, Evangeline Born, Lyla Rochon, Victoria Carley and Smoky River FCSS Director Crystal Tremblay. In the back row, left-right, are Sophie Staudinger and Arianne Servant. Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecole Routhier Grade 3 French Immersion class in Falher went above and beyond early this year to commit to their class theme of kindness.

The class chose the theme “Kindness” in January and February, after their teacher, Jenny St. Jean, asked, “What are some new ideas for ways we can extend kindness to others (in or out of the school)?”

“When you ask this question to a bunch of kind and innovative students, we get an art sale and lemonade sale,” explains St. Jean, noting that their class includes 12 students.

“From the start of the project, they were clear that they wanted to help the less-fortunate families in our area. So, we invited Crystal (Tremblay) from FCSS to come in and talk about the programs and supports that they offer in our community.”

The students quickly decided they wanted to donate all the proceeds from their sale to the Smoky River Food Bank. St. Jean says the class brainstormed ideas to figure out how they could raise proceeds for the food bank, and they sent their ideas to the school’s administration team, who supported the idea of the craft, art and lemonade sale.

Students made bilingual posters to advertise their projects, and made crafts at home along with two made at school. The two projects made at school include Willow Wreaths and Inspiration Boards. The student’s held their fundraiser during Parent and Teacher Interviews March 21-23. They impressively raised $552.25, money that the students explain was necessary to donate to the food bank.

“Some families in our town need food and we are willing to raise money for them,” says student Sophie Staudinger.

Victoria Carley agreed.

“When you’re less fortunate and you don’t have enough money for food, you need help from FCSS.”

St. Jean says they’d love to make this an annual fundraiser; however, it was a huge undertaking for the teacher, parents, and school, so it will have to be re-evaluated next year.

“At first it was just an idea on paper, a brainstorming activity like I always do but when I saw the fire and genuine kindness in my students when talking about such an idea, I had to move forward with it,” says St. Jean.

“Also, knowing that we have families in our communities that need financial help with groceries, especially with the rising cost, I decided to help organize it with them.”

The students visited the local food bank at the beginning of the month, to see the storage of items and to learn more about how the program runs. St. Jean says they offered suggestions for food items that could be added, coming from a child’s perspective. She says FCSS director Crystal Tremblay will be purchasing items with the money the children raised and will be inviting them back to stock the shelves.

She feels this experience will allow her students to see exactly where their money is going and how it will be helping the community.

“This taught my students the value of helping and caring for others and it gave them a stronger sense of connection with our community,” she says.

“It taught them that projects like this that begin with “just” an idea can grow into an amazing kindness act. It also increased their knowledge and awareness of our community needs. Finally, they learned the financial part of the sale like pricing our art items at a reasonable price, counting money, and counting change.”

The students chose to donate unsold art items to the Villa Beausejour and unsold bracelets to the Falher Medical Clinic for them to give to children going to see the doctor.

“It’s the project that keeps on giving,” says St. Jean.

“It truly warms my heart to see such a great group of students, it makes me hopeful for a better future.”

Questions posed to the children:

Question: “Why do you think it was important to raise money for the FCSS Food Bank?”

“To help other people.” – Zander Labrecque.

“Because it helps the less fortunate people in our community.” – Arianne Servant.

“Because it helps a lot of people in our community.” – Lyla Rochon.

“Because some people in our community don’t have money to buy food and they need food to survive.” – Mackenzie Reed.

“We can help people that really need food by giving money to the FCSS Food Bank.” – Kale-Adam Capili.

Question: “Why do you think it is important to be kind?”

“By being kind to others, they will show kindness back,” – Evan Brulotte.

“When you’re kind to others, you make them happy.” – Evangeline Born.

“When you’re mean to others, they will be mean back to you. That’s why it’s important to be kind.” – Caleb Isert.

“When someone is feeling insecure, you can be kind to them and they will feel more comfortable and secure.” – Kaleb-Adam Capili.

“When someone is sad, and you show kindness, it will make them feel like they’re going to explode with love.” – Sophie Staudinger.

“When someone is kind to me, I feel warm fuzzies in my heart because I want others to feel that.” – Arianne Servant.

“When someone is sad you should show them kindness with your words and emotions because it’ll make them feel like they belong.” – Lyla Rochon.

Question: “Would you like to help people in any other way? What do you think would be a good thing to do next?”

“To make food for others so they can eat lunch.” – Kaleb-Adam Capili.

“To do a bake sale to raise money for FCSS Food Bank and to play music to raise more money.” – Sophie Staudinger.

“I think that we should continue raising money for FCSS Food Bank,” – Arianne Servant.

“I think that we should raise money for an animal shelter.” – Mackenzie Reed.

“I think we should make a bigger sale, other than art, with clothes and stuff to continue raising money for the FCSS.” – Evangeline Born.

“I think we should raise money for the hospital.” – Caleb Isert.

“I think we should raise money for the FCSS Christmas hamper.” – Lyla Rochon.

Question: “What was the most fun part about the fundraiser?”

“Raising money and helping FCSS Food Bank.” – Hazen Hicks.

“Making more money for families who are less fortunate.” – Evangeline Born.

“Making items for our art sale.” – Zander Labrecque.

“Selling our stuff.” – Kaleb-Adam Capili.

“Making the decorations, art crafts and signs for the sale.” – Sophie Staudinger.

“We got to see people smile and enjoy the art and lemonade.” – Victoria Carley.

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 14, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta
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