12 Days of Caring at Rolph Street PS

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There may be the odd design challenge.

"It's not very good glue," explained Katlin Herman of her 'reindeer' candy cane, transformed - if temporarily at times - via the addition of ‘pom poms, goggly eyes and pipe cleaners.’

"They keep falling off a lot."

But there's absolutely nothing wrong with her Grade 5/6 class's base concept - raising money to 'adopt' a family in need for Christmas.

One of Rolph Street Public School's Grade 2 classes had a different vision: baking shortbread cookies as a fundraiser to buy a chicken, or other support for Third World families.

"It smelled awesome," said Ben Ward.

"And it smelled like bread," added classmate Sydney Burgess.

Linus Klassen's noggin provided a temporary home for a nifty wool toque, in a bright shade of green, his favourite colour.

"It feels real fuzzy, and warm," said Klassen of headgear ultimately headed - along with an accompanying pair of mitts - for children in need.

Off to the left, Paxton Bale and Maggie Abrams proffered children's books, destined ultimately for orphaned children living with the Tumaini Foundation in Tanzania, a sampling of $301 worth purchased via the proceeds of odd jobs around students' homes.

"We raised money for children in Africa that don't have books," Bale explained.

Rolph Street Public School's 12 Days Of Caring is the common denominator between candy canes, cookies, canned goods and children's books and eight additional distinct projects spread around the school.

"We're donating things or money to people who don't have things," said Herman.

"Like clean water," continued Ward.

"And like food," concluded Burke Ivanochko.

Grade 1 teacher Lisa Chevers initiated the 12-day spree of caring and sharing around five years ago in her classroom, inviting the entire school to hop on the bandwagon this year. "Twelve days was a lot for one person," she laughed.

Each 'day' was open to individual classes' interpretation, and the balance featured projects including creating kindness cards for those around the school, thank-you cookies for staff members and gift boxes for school volunteers, adopting a family for Christmas or an animal through the World Wildlife Fund, donations to the SPCA, a canned food drive, and financial contributions to the Canadian Tire Toys for Kids program.

"Everybody picked their own," said Chevers. "Whatever they decided."

Each of the 12 projects has a designated 'day', opening Tuesday, December 3 and running through until Wednesday, December 18. Updates are given daily during Rolph Street's morning announcements, signalled via the ringing of a jingle bell. Photos are being taken and will be compiled into a slideshow which will be shared with the student body on the last day of school prior to the Christmas break.

"Everyone will get to see everyone's acts of kindness, not just their own," said Chevers.

There is some time, effort and expense involved in an exercise she feels returns exponentially on its investment, in terms of instilling what Chevers sincerely hopes will be an ongoing sense of caring and respect in children, along with a dose of character development.

"The kids get the true meaning of Christmas from it too," she concluded. "It's not all about the things and getting, it makes them feel good and everyone benefits from their acts of kindness."




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