Submitted by Michelle Miller-Gauthier and Jose Cayanan, Teacher Leaders, McLeod Me to We.
For the past several years a group of students at W.L. McLeod Elementary have volunteered many lunch hours to raise awareness and funds to address local and global social issues and inequities like poverty, food insecurity, water pollution, child labour.
In recent years, we have focused mostly on clean water initiatives in Kenya and in Indigenous communities in Canada.
We usually conduct this work in collaboration with the charitable group WE (formerly, Me to We). In the spring of 2020 this organization ceased operating in Canada and closed their offices. Spring is when we usually donate some of our funds to them, but this time we had to hold onto them.
Students voted last week to donate our entire $2000 to a local group and we chose to support the Kinette’s Club of Vanderhoof’s Santa’s Anonymous project.
McLeod Me to We student leadership group would like to thank the school and Vanderhoof community members for supporting the following activities to help us raise these funds:
-Raffle tickets at the WL McLeod Craft Fair
-Used book sale
-Rafiki bracelet sales
In previous years we raised money for sustainable incomes in Nicaragua (helped families purchase goats) and helped to build a hospital in Kenya.
We have performed student designed skits for the school, made display boards for a Water Walk, led by NVSS Me to We to raise awareness about the importance of clean water in our community and around the world.
We read and viewed news reports about local Canadian water issues and made a donation of $1000 to a nearby Indigenous community that was facing a boil water advisory.
A few years ago wrote to our MP Todd Doherty and enjoyed a personal visit from him and we wrote to the Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about boil water advisories in our country, most of which exist in Indigenous communities.
We have also helped with food security in our own town by participating in Hallowe’en for Hunger (or We Scare Hunger) for many years as a whole school. We also usually participate in a Vow of Silence for a short time marching to our local little mall raise awareness about children in countries where their voices are silenced and they suffer a lack of education and sometimes child labour situations.
Our most popular and successful fundraisers are bake sales. Surprisingly, our Me to We group won the Robin Hood Bake for Change prize two years in a row, earning $5000 for our chosen cause!
For this event we usually did something that aligned with celebrating our French Canadian culture by choosing a sweet treat to make and sell during Carnaval time. Two years in a row we made Queues de Castors (Beaver Tails) and sold a whopping 400!
Lastly, we would also like to thank Jo-Anne Kellam for supporting our work last year during meetings and events.