Emma Walsh (front left)

Emma Walsh (front left)

Keating kids have giving hearts

Students dug in to help wherever they could during times of crisis

National Philanthropy Day had as its 2011 slogan “Change the World With a Giving Heart.”

A group of students from Keating elementary took those words to heart during the last school year, undertaking several fundraising activities and bringing in hundreds of dollars for causes from Cops for Cancer to Japan earthquake relief.

The Grade 4 and 5 students of Division 2 were honoured at a gala celebration last week at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, accepting the Youth in Philanthropy award for children ages 5 to 10.

The fundraising began with a lunch-hour used toy and popcorn sale for Tour de Rock. The $800 raised was part of a school-wide total of nearly $4,000 brought in for Cops for Cancer.

Another popcorn sale collected $400 for Unicef, and an annual family dance became a fundraiser for Canadian Red Cross efforts to aid the people of Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Sales of T-shirts and bottles of water — one Kindergarten student donated her birthday money: $50 in toonies — raised more than $600 for the cause.

At the gala, the students, some of whom now attend Bayside middle school, heard stories of other philanthropic efforts from individuals and groups from around Greater Victoria.

The evening inspired them to do more. The following day, with the help of parents, they made and distributed nearly 400 bags of popcorn, raising another $427 for Unicef.

The students recorded on video their fundraising stories. The clips will be used to promote Youth in Philanthropy throughout North America and the world.