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Lesson turns to action for Bayside students

Bayside students (clockwise from top) Jordana Underwood, Lini John-Henderson, McKayla Pelletier, Tatumn Barber and Brittany MacDougal helped raise thousands for charity this year. - Laura Lavin/news staff
Bayside students (clockwise from top) Jordana Underwood, Lini John-Henderson, McKayla Pelletier, Tatumn Barber and Brittany MacDougal helped raise thousands for charity this year.
— image credit: Laura Lavin/news staff

Dozens of Bayside Grade 6 students are getting an A+ in fundraising this year.

The students have been studying human rights and global citizenship in social studies, learning how to become better citizens. Part of the class was an assignment that lead the group of mostly-12-year-olds to choose an organization that helps make the world a better place — then decide how to help them out.

“We went to Wild ARC and we got to choose what animals we would sponsor,” said Chloe Hamer. “We chose a fawn, a hummingbird and a seal.”

Megan Briere and her partner Charlotte McHugh sold cookies, had a bottle drive, a garage sale, donated from their allowance and looked after neighbour’s chickens to raise $113 for Victoria Adoptables and $180 for UNICEF — and they were not alone in raising a large amount of money for their chosen charities.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said teacher Charlene Rozon. “We’ve done this in the past but this is the most response we’ve had.”

The two classes raised almost $3,000 for different charities which included animal rescue groups like the SPCA, Victoria Adoptables, Wild ARC and Cat’s Cradle Rescue Society along with organizations that help children such as Free the Children, Children with Aids Society, Make a Wish Foundation, BC Children’s Hospital and others.

The project also encouraged the kids to get involved in educating others about their charity or to help out by volunteering. McKayla Pelletier organized a speaker from the SPCA to visit her class, Hamer put up posters around the school and organized a speaker from Wild ARC, while Lini John-Henderson volunteered for The Power of Hope. “My mom is a director there so I know a lot about it,” said John-Henderson. “I stuffed envelopes to help the choir that supports the programs.”

“It felt good. I’d never done anything like it before and it felt really good to help,” said Carolina Curiel.

Jordana Underwood admitted to being unsure about sharing her fundraising ideas. “I was nervous and it was hard to tell people about it. They made fun of my idea,” she said. But her coffee bean count turned out to be one of the more popular fundraisers. “After a while people thought it was a cool idea. More people got involved than I thought.” She asked local businesses to donate prizes and raised money for the Sidney Lions Food Bank.

“It was a lot of work to go to places and I was really nervous, but after I did and I made money, I felt really good about it and proud of what I’ve done,” Underwood said.

“These are very kind kids,” said Rozon. “They’ve been learning about this all year, learning to be good citizens and look out for others in the world, make the world a better place to be in. I think they’ve really taken it to heart.”

The act of helping others is is one Underwood and some of her friends are keen to repeat.

“I want to do some more bottle drives,” said Rhys Jones who raised $70 for World Vision. “I want to raise more money to help more kids.”

“I want to help with SPCA summer camp when I’m old enough,” said Pelletier.

As for Underwood, she will be spending part of her summer vacation at a soup kitchen in Sidney. “Because I helped the food bank and this is along the same lines,” she said. “It makes me happy.”

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