By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News
Raymond’s Rotary Club and Kainai Middle School worked together recently through the “Live Like Lilli Foundation.” Steve Leavitt, from the Raymond Rotary Club, said the initiative last month was to engage youth at the school in service opportunities within the community. Students at the school determined a Christmas hamper project for families in need would be their initial project and a dozen hampers were put enthusiastically together by the students on Dec. 17, 2018.
Leavitt noted the Raymond club has done a lot in the local community and also internationally in Africa and the Caribbean. “We have also done some work with the library in Standoff. We do see a need for the youth.”
Leavitt said his granddaughter Lilli passed away in an auto accident and her parents set up a foundation to give back to the community. The funds for the “Live Like Lilli Foundation” were raised by the club’s President Val Boehme and Leavitt and his wife — as they pedalled bikes across Alberta over two days for a fundraising initiative.
“The $10,000 that have been approved for this project have been donated by Rotary International with $7,500 and our local Rotary club with $1,250 and the ‘Live Like Lilli Foundation’ with $1,250,” Leavitt noted.
In 2018, while applying for matching grant funds from Rotary District 5360 for scholarship funds to be awarded to Raymond High School students for “Outstanding Community or Humanitarian Service,” the rotary club made a separate application to the district to engage students at Kainai Middle School in community service awareness and development projects.
Last month, the food previously purchased with allocated funds was packaged into boxes that were decorated with the help of about 30 students from the school. “There were plenty of smiles and excitement from the students, as they all worked together. The hampers were delivered later in the day to the families.”
“This is the first project of about a total of eight projects, which we want to do over the next two years. The students were very engaged, as they had the opportunity to serve others. It is our hope the students will see the joy of service and incorporate this as part of their lives,” added Leavitt.
All the funds have already been raised for this initiative. If anyone would like to participate with the Rotary contact Leavitt at 403-915-3315.
According to Leavitt, the Rotary Club of Raymond has sponsored significant dental and educational projects in Africa over the past decade. “With the success of these international humanitarian projects we turned our attention to our neighbours closer to home.”
“For the past three years, individuals and families attending our Annual Community Carole Festival have brought non-perishable food for the Standoff Food Bank — as well as toys, books and DVDs for the Kainai Public Library,” he added.
Last year in a joint venture, Leavitt added — the Blood Band Board of Education, the Kainai Public Library and the Rotary Club of Raymond — three “little libraries” were built by the Rotary club, with funds from the Blood Band Board of Education. The Kainai Public Library manages and maintains the ‘little libraries.’