Eighteen local organizations recently received an influx of cash to help spread kindness.
During an assembly at Kent Road School on Nov. 19, approximately $10,000 was divvied up between 19 kindness initiatives. The cash was raised by the Cool 2Be Kind campaign, a project initiated by the Winnipeg Police Association. This marks the second year the campaign was able to dole out funding to worthy initiatives, and WPA president Mike Sutherland has been thrilled to see how the response has grown the second time around.
"It boggles the mind how impressive these programs are, how involved and creative the students are," Sutherland said, noting he was glad to be able to fund every initiative presented. "I don’t think that when we launched the program we had any idea of the magnitude of the response."
Sutherland said the money was raised through sponsorships and through the sale of pink tote bags with the Cool 2BeKind logo.
The hosts at Kent Road School received money for the school’s Learn to Share, Show You Care program, which works to grow the students’ social conscience both with those in the school and outside of it. In addition to helping to support organizations like Winnipeg Harvest and Chili From the Heart, Kent Road is working to promote kindness within the school.
Resource teacher Brenda Ryant said the Playground Pals program works by scheduling times where students in higher grades play with students in younger grades. The money will go to purchasing games and toys that students of all ages can enjoy together. Ryant explained the program has worked well since being introduced last year.
"The older kids go outside and they play recess games with the younger kids," Ryant said. "That’s really been a great initiative in helping to reduce problems outside at recess-time."
École River Heights School proposed two initiatives, and both received funding through the program. The first will see students come together and create blankets to give to Wolseley-based Villa Rosa, while the other will involve students taking up donations for, and distributing soup and hot chocolate to, Winnipeg’s homeless. Wiebe had Grade 7 students Arianna Chisholm and Elizabeth Badger in tow with her at the presentation.
"The girls came forward with their ideas, and we made two proposals hoping to maybe get funded for one," organizing teacher Jennifer Wiebe said. "We were pretty amazed."
Wiebe said student-teacher Anna Feely has already looked into the logistics of creating the no-sew blankets, and she expects students to get underway creating them straightaway.
"It’ll be taking place in a classroom at lunchtime. (Because they’re no-sew blankets), it’s cutting and knotting, basically," Wiebe said. "We’ll be starting up a lunch-hour work bee and see how long it takes us."
Isaac Newton School (730 Aberdeen Ave.) will use its funding to help the school create its first mascot. The school is currently working on designing the mascot, which will be based on its Blazers nickname.
"It’s something that we’ve been planning for a long time. One of the things that we try to do at our school is ‘Investing in Isaac,’" vice-principal Randy Routledge said. "Part of it is safety and citizenship, and we talk about anti-bullying and being kind to each other. We thought this mascot could be an extension of that."
Routledge said he envisions creating plush toys of the mascot as well. Routledge attended the presentation with citizenship students Heaven Gauthier and Marcus Marasiga, who are both in Grade 9. Marasiga sees other uses for the mascot in the future.
"We’re really into sports, so it would be good for a mascot to come cheer us on," he said.
Other organizations receiving funding were: Cecil Rhodes School, Clifton School, Collège Churchill, Earl Grey School, the Hateless Campaign, Lord Nelson School, Niji Mahkwa School, Pluri-elles (Manitoba) Inc., River Elm School, Robertson School, Ryerson School, Seven Oaks School Division, Garden City Collegiate, Shaughnessy Park School, and Sister MacNamara School.