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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How WE Day inspired 24 Canyon School students to take action

Canyon School Grade 6 WE day participants 
Lexi Mensaghi photo

Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice

Canyon School teacher Lexi Mensaghi and Assistant Principal Kirby Dietze attended WE Day in Calgary with Canyon students from grade 6 on October 24, 2013.


"We took 24 students to We Day and these projects are how they earned their way," said Mensaghi.  "They had to create their plan and when they came back we chose which projects."  The students worked together in groups for causes that they chose themselves.  These projects included the school's  Halloween Carnival, a winter clothing drive,  the plight of the honey bees, low income housing, southern Alberta flooding, SPCA bottle drive, a soup kitchen day, Smile Train, and a garbage clean up that was cancelled due to weather.

"When you go to 'We Day' it's all about people who have made a difference and take actions and also support different causes and inspirational stories to share. Bringing awareness to causes that need help all around the world."

"On the We website it says your can't buy tickets," explained Mensaghi.  "You have to earn them with local and global action and so this is our local action.  Everyone in grade 6 put on the Halloween Carnival and that was the global action.  It's great that these kids are willing to help their community.  It's hard for anybody to look outside themselves and see a need and it was a challenge.  We pitched to them and they really rose to it and exceeded my expectations of what they would see and were willing to do.  One of the messages of We Day is that you are never to young to make a difference.  Your age isn't an excuse; it just lets you know you have a responsibility."

"With technology, it's easier to see and we are aware of issues globally and that's when we have to turn it and look at our own community and make sure we are aware of our own issues within our community," Mensaghi continued.  "We put the challenged out to the kids and they needed to look for an issue and take action or find some way to make a difference.  It was independent and not done at school.  We had 24 students who rose to the challenge and submitted their assignment.  We were able to take all of them to We Day so that was pretty great."

The groups met with media and chose a spokesperson to represent them from each group.

Raising Awareness:  Honey bees and low income housing
Participants:  Brooke Hammond and Erica Mackenzie

The plight of the honey bees

"I chose the bees because my dad brought it up," said Brooke Hammond.  "We do have bees on our land.  I am raising awareness for the honey bees because they are dying from insecticides. I am making posters and I will be putting them around town and in the school to hopefully show awareness to what is happening."

Low income housing

"My idea was to raise awareness for low income housing," said  Erica Mackenzie.  "I have a petition and I am going to write a letter to the Crowsnest newspaper and see if they will put an article in the newspaper about this.  I chose this awareness because my mom is the president of Angels Within Us and they help people who need help like low income housing.  One day, I saw a little girl like me who was 10 yrs old and they had  a very poor condition of their house and it upset me very much.   So we decided to pick this awareness."

Winter Clothing Drive
Participants:  Julia Little, Tashayla Cold Weather, Sienne Dupuis, Johnny Parker, Sam Noel, Arianna Prairie Chicken, Elijah Schuler, Zack Renschler

"We are going to raise money for clean water, housing and food and such.  We are sending our money to High River.  I had also collected some clothes as well; so I am helping two causes.  It feels good to be doing something like this."

Winter Clothing Drive
Bin at Sobeys and Canyon School.  Please donate clean gently used winter clothing.

SPCA bottle drive
Participants:  Wes Krampe, Jessie Terpstra, Tim Jorgensen

"We want to give the animals toys so that they have something to do all day," said group spokesperson Wes Krampe.  "From the 9th to the 13th of December we are putting bins up in the lobby of our school so that people can bring bottles and we will take them to the bottle depot for the money; we are also asking them for food, toys, water and blankets.  We have posters up around the school and I am putting up posters around town."

Soup kitchen day
Participants:  Jasmine Malhi, Sam Jordan, Anna Bruder, Rhianna Robson

"We are helping people who are poor and need food. We are giving them soup and bannock.  We are doing it November 24th at the Napi friendship centre. We made posters and I put covers over them.  We are excited to be doing the soup kitchen and it will a lot of work."

Smile Train gourd raffle
Participants:  Ben Mitchell, Trent Metcalfe, Liam Hale

"We are raising awareness for cleft lip.  We were selling tickets for gourds.  I chose gourds because I happen to have them on my land.  They raffled off gourds already.  Looking back it wasn't easy as the computer stuff was painful as it was hard to make the raffle tickets.  Our goal was to help two children and each surgery was $250.00 and we raised $1,253.00 which is enough for five children.  The draw was November 8th, but we are not done yet because we have to write a report on it.  It's a lot of work but I would do it again in the future and now I know how to make raffle tickets."

Baked Goods for High River flooding
Participants:  Easton Fitzpatrick, Bill Teran, Aubrey Old Crow, Hailey McLeod

"We are doing this to assist those affected by the High River flooding through the Alberta Red Cross Flood Foundation.  We chose the baked goods drive because lots of people like to buy homemade stuff.  We are making the baked goods ourselves and obviously our parents will be helping us."  They sold their baked goods at Ranchland Mall on November 25th, raising approximately $70.00.

Mr. Fluffykins the bear helped Bill Teran, Easton Fitzpatrick,
Aubrey Old Crow and Hailey McLeod at Ranchland bake sale
These students have worked hard to earn their right to go to WE Day.  In doing so they have improved our community, becoming better citizens in the process.

Related stories:
WE are the change

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