If it's wonderful to watch young children celebrate Christmas, it's also heartwarming to see them learn a lesson of the season -- helping others by giving.
Every year, the Louis Riel School Division does that in a massive way, mobilizing its student body, from kindergarten to Grade 12 at all 40 of its schools, to raise money for its own pennies campaign, which feeds into our campaign.
But other students across the city and province also have their own pennies drives, helping the Free Press Pennies from Heaven campaign to help the Christmas Cheer Board and Winnipeg Harvest.
Case one: The students in Mrs. Romanoff's class at Arthur Wright School
This class of 21 students was able to raise $10.83 -- all in pennies -- and their teacher donated an extra buck per student, bringing the total raised to $31.83.
"'We hope it will help someone this Christmas," the students wrote.
We know the donation will.
Case two: The students at École Lorette Immersion
That school's campaign, which ran from Dec. 3 to Dec. 17, saw an amazing $809 raised in "pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies, toonies, etc."
They noted that "even the smallest of donations can make a difference." Couldn't have said it better myself.
Case three: Brock Corydon School's UNESCO team
The students from that school's UNESCO team decided to help four different charities this holiday season and our Pennies campaign was one of them.
I met some of the students when they came to the Free Press office with their donations. Then the students were off to help the Cheer Board and deliver some coats to the Koats for Kids program. They plan to volunteer at Winnipeg Harvest sometime in the new year.
Case four: The final example of nine-year-old Titus Stewart
Last year, Stewart decided he wanted to raise his weight in pennies and he exceeded his goal, at 50 pounds, he collected about 90 pounds of pennies.
This year, Stewart decided on a new goal -- 100 pounds of pennies. For the second year running, he surpassed his goal.
He piled up 108 pounds of pennies. Titus not only nearly doubled his weight in coins, he succeeded in collecting enough coins for his weight and that of his five-year-old sister, Siobhan, combined.
The family says Stewart is constantly looking for coins or getting donations from relatives and friends.
As I mentioned earlier, all four examples show our young people in our community have learned, and are learning, valuable lessons in giving. They not only are true citizens in their community now, but I'm sure their philanthropic efforts will continue in ways that will help our community in myriad ways.
It is your turn now and time is running short. Our bins start disappearing from their locations in little more than a week, so please donate now.
Don't forget we are in the final days of getting an original ballot in to have a chance of winning the ability to send an RBC Olympian -- Jared Funk or Jill Officer -- to a Winnipeg school of your choice, a Canadian Ice diamond and gold pendant courtesy of Ben Moss Jewellers or concert tickets to various acts such as Sarah Brightman, Blue Rodeo and Randy Bachman.
The tickets will be drawn this coming Friday at noon so -- at this point -- it might not be a good idea to rely on the mail.
You might have to deliver them to the Free Press in person.