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Looming club in bloom at Neil Campbell

Grade 5/6 students raising money for Kenyan school

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Members of Neil Campbell School's We Loom club are shown in class.
Back row: Mme. Debbie Duncan, Jade Scott, Nicole Marshall, Kyra Munoz, Selina Araya, Sara Bacchus, Heidi Copet, and Tori Gandy.
Front row: Jhaira Salamat, Mackenzie Cameron, Gaelen Maderazo, Callie Ferec-Legall, and Carrie-Lynn Hryenchuk.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

Members of Neil Campbell School's We Loom club are shown in class. Back row: Mme. Debbie Duncan, Jade Scott, Nicole Marshall, Kyra Munoz, Selina Araya, Sara Bacchus, Heidi Copet, and Tori Gandy. Front row: Jhaira Salamat, Mackenzie Cameron, Gaelen Maderazo, Callie Ferec-Legall, and Carrie-Lynn Hryenchuk. Photo Store

Students at Neil Campbell School are weaving up a plan to raise money for Free the Children.

A group from Debbie Duncan’s Grade 5/6 split class has banded together to help build a school in Kenya, and the kids have gotten creative in their tactics. In addition to traditional bake sale and popcorn sale fundraisers, a collection of 13 students turned a personal interest into a cash cow for the cause.

Gaelen Maderazo and Jhaira Salamat approached Duncan with the idea of selling their loomed bracelets and other creations with proceeds going to the campaign. As of May 27, the class had surpassed the $400 mark, all told.

"At home, I used to make them and sell them, and then I asked Jhaira to help me make them. She was my first seller," Maderazo said. "I asked her if she wanted to help me raise money for Free the Children."

Maderazo first saw friends at church looming, which inspired her to get into it, and Salamat jumped at the opportunity to help start the We Loom club.

After starting at a classroom level, the promotion eventually went school-wide, with there even being a shop set up for the kindergarten students in Duncan’s room.

Maderazo, Salamat, and Tori Gandy — who created posters to promote the sale — estimated it takes them on average between seven and 11 minutes to complete one creation.

Duncan said the looming project started small enough, but with demand booming, the young designers ended up putting in some extra effort to make over 600 loomed items for sale.

"They were going to make it on their own time and then we used all our lunch hours, recesses, and then some class time — and a lot of class time lately to fill orders," Duncan said.

With their mantra of "child labour to stop child labour" in mind, the students put together bracelets using tiny elastic bands hooked together just so.

"They’re teaching each other how to loom, because some knew how to do certain ones, so they really worked with a lot of kids so they can learn how to make different styles," Duncan said.

In terms of promotion, Gandy said making the posters was an extension of what she was already doing.

"I was on my iPod a lot, taking pictures of the bracelets and posting them on Instagram," she said. "I figured ‘why not make some posters?’"

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