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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Thinking of Others

Students at Beau Valley PS work together to round up donations for the homeless

​Beau Valley PS Cares About You! The message written on each of the hygiene bags that were donated to Cornerstone Comm. Assoc.
Beau Valley PS Cares About You! The message written on each of the hygiene bags that were donated to Cornerstone Community Association.

On December 11, students from Beau Valley PS gathered to present Cornerstone Community Association with hygiene bags to help the homeless. The bags contained items like heavy socks, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, and much more.

"I wanted this to be real life and authentic," shares Heidi Mercer, Grade 7/8 Teacher. "I'm hoping that when they're older that they maybe can initiate something similar, whether it's within their family or whether they are coaching a hockey team. I hope that they will always remember this."

It all started with a media project that Mercer assigned to her class. She said the students brainstormed and picked the charity they wanted to support. Then they had to advertise and encourage their school community to donate goods. They did this through school posters, morning announcements, class ambassadors, flyers, a colouring contest, and Halloween grams. The project also tied in well with the school's 12 Days of Giving campaign, where the school has collected food for Feed the Need in Durham. The school also collected 933 pairs of socks for the needy in Soctober (October). The extra socks were added to the Cornerstone hygiene bags.

​Students listen intently as Alyssa Skan from Cornerstone talks to them about homelessness.
Students listen intently as Alyssa Skan from Cornerstone talks to them about homelessness.

Brett R. is a Grade 8 student who participated in the project and it meant a lot to him, especially considering Beau Valley PS only has approximately 230 students.

"It is important because I want to help others stay warm in the winter," explains Brett. "We are a pretty small school and we got a lot of stuff."

The truth about homelessness

​Students listen intently as Alyssa Skan from Cornerstone talks to them about homelessness.
Students listen intently as Alyssa Skan from Cornerstone talks to them about homelessness.

Alyssa Skan is the Program Director at Cornerstone and she came to the school to thank the students for their donations and to give them a presentation about what life is like for homeless people who use their services.

She dispelled many myths about homelessness. Skan said that sometimes their clients have been abused or have a mental illness and that being homeless is not a choice. "Most of the time people just need a little help," she said.

Mercer was happy to see her students come together to help their community.

"It's amazing to the see the kind-heartedness come out, because you don't always see that side of them in the classroom," she said.



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© Durham District School Board, 2013