The Kids Who Can Club
ST. MARY’S KIDS WHO CAN CLUB—(Grade 6 & 7 Class)
The Kids Who Can was established in 2008. The idea happened organically when I posed the question to my class.....How will you make a difference in this world. The class was keen to start solving the world's problems. We decided that we cannot change the world by asking other people to do it for us. And, so it began. We elected our leaders, designed shirts, and got busy working. Students began creating projects which would include their "hands" or labor. Over the years, we have done recycling, cleaning, yard work, washed cars, baked, made cookies, held bake sales, freezie sales, done babysitting, completed art projects, sewn, created slime etc. We have participated in acts of service including singing at the hospital and at homes for the elderly, shopped for Christmas hampers, given time to child mind during meetings, "adopted" children around the world, provided several surgeries for Operation Smile, provided presents to the Children's Hospital, donated money to animal shelters. Over the years, we have supported Chalice, a Catholic charitable organization, to purchase farm animals, stoves, seeds, plants, medicines, mosquito nets, school uniforms, which go all over the world to where there is the most need. We've also supported the Carribean Children's foundation, made puppets for an orphanage in Haiti, sewn quilts, provided the Shrove Tuesday pancake breakfast, performed the Stations of the Cross, worked in green houses to pick tomatoes, etc.
We currently support Pauline Salas (Phillipines), James Mwende (Kenya), Thiago Gonzalea (Paraguay). After 2 years of aid, Sagar Babari (India) was able to exit the program due to our help and his father getting a job.
Over the years, the kids the students have earned thousands of dollars to simply give them away. It is such a powerful moment when I say, "So, we have about $2,500 left in the account......who do you want to help?" Allowing students to get "elbows" deep in the work and not get anything back is often a difficult concept for them to understand at first, but they grow to love it. These young people are filled with a desire to work and are willing and ready to get busy. One of the most opinion altering activities is the recycling program - as it is so gross and, initially, worth very little. Yet, 5 cents at a time, we have earned thousands of dollars.
The projects are thought of organically and are based on the interests and skill sets of the students. So each year it looks different. For example, last year, we were reading about food waste in our Social Studies class (current events - social justice on food distribution) and one student became quite emotional as she explained that their farm throws away vegetables which aren't the "right" size or shape. The grocery stores will not buy them. The project started there. We visited the green house, culled "unsuitable" tomatoes and weighed and bagged them. We sold them as part of a group project and earned about $1500 off of "useless" tomatoes. The great irony, which the class understood, is that people around the world dig through the trash to find food sources and we, in Canada, throw away perfectly good food because it is not "pretty' enough to eat. It is a lesson in humility. Additionally, it is an eye opener of the distribution of resources.
Connected with the study of government, we hold elections and have meetings to decide in things in a democratic process. We have a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer.
I am extremely proud of the students and their ability to create positive change in our world. We have amazingly powerful young people in our St. Mary's Community. I feel blessed to work with these passionate individuals.
- Robin Olivares—Grade 6 Teacher.