By Jonathan Guignard
Students from Magrath Elementary spent the year raising money and gathering donations to help out those in need.
Kathy Davies grade three class donated $661.25 to Lethbridge Family Services at the beginning of the month to help support refugee families who recently moved to Lethbridge.
The class raised the money by selling baked goods and frozen treats, when the weather warmed up.
They collected toys, clothes and other household items.
The students also wrote letters to businesses and were able to collect many different gift cards from around the community.
The students were introduced to the importance of global citizenship at the beginning of the year and it’s something Davies works hard at.
“I always try to do some sort of a fundraiser with the kids. We decided we would focus on the refugees. Usually we focus on other countries, but we thought it would be nice to help with something closer to home,” said Davies.
Davies showed the children some of the videos of what was happening with the Syrian refugees as they tried to escape their country. After watching, students were fully on board.
“That got them interested. They saw the refugees get off the boats and saw how squashed they were. They saw the refugees with nothing, except the clothing on their backs. So they wanted to help,” said Davies.
On top of everything, the class wrote letters to the families welcoming the refugees to Canada. Engaging with the refugees is something Davies says will help them to be better people as they get older.
“It teaches them to care about people who have less than us. To realize that even though they are eight years old, they can really make a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” said Davies. “I hope they become more caring and compassionate. I hope that as they grow up, they’ll continue to make a difference.”
Peter Casurella, Coordinator of Advancement and Community Relations at Lethbridge Family Services, is grateful for each donation received and understands it’s always nice to have that little bit of extra money to help out when newcomers to this country need help.
However, he believes there is something more important to the refugees than just money.
“It’s the acceptance you give these people. It’s the acceptance that this grade three class is showing them by writing these letters,” said Casurella.”They just want to find a place to belong, a place where they feel they can be at peace and somewhere they can raise their families.”
What’s important to understand is these welcome letters and different types of donations can really show that Canadians have opened their hearts to the Syrian refugees.
“When we have people in the community who reach out and offer them acceptance, it means so much. They have been on the run for so long. Home is more than just a place to lay your head, it’s a place where you feel that people want you to be there,” said Casurella.
The class didn’t stop there. They also lent their hand to Fort McMurray and raised around $500 to help with the struggles caused by the wildfire.