Students raise over $3,000 to help the Philippines after the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan
By Amanda McAlpine
Students at Mentor College in Port Credit have bravely stepped up and taken action to raise money for disaster relief after Typhoon Haiyan. Students in grades two, three and four have spent countless hours making bracelets with the colours of the Philippines flag and selling them for two dollars each. The total raised and donated to the Red Cross of Canada was $3,600.
Typhoon Haiyan has been the deadliest Pacific Ocean typhoon on record, hitting most of Southeast Asia in early November. The typhoon killed 5,235 people and is categorized as the strongest storm ever. The Red Cross of Canada has been doing everything to help, and Mentor College students realized that they had the opportunity in their hands to make a difference.
"The idea for a fundraiser evolved after a class discussion," said Shamiez Nasser, a grade four teacher at Mentor College. "Students in my class had brought in newspaper articles showing the destruction caused by the storm and we collectively realized that we could and should help."
Over 300 bracelets were made and all donations from their efforts went directly to the Red Cross of Canada. 66 students participated in total, most giving up their recesses and weekends to make the bracelets.
"I was very fortunate to work with driven students and talented teachers," said Nasser. "Everyone put a lot of energy into making this a very successful fundraiser and learning experience."
The primary students' initial goal was to raise $1,000 in five days, however they surprised themselves by quickly surpassing their target. Older students at Mentor College also did their share, as grade eight students rallied their classmates to donate a loonie or toonie to the cause.
"[The students] focused on helping those in times of need," said Jason Fournie, a grade eight teacher at Mentor College. "And how that ought to be a priority, given the level of safety and security we enjoy here [in Canada]."
Media portrayal of the typhoon was discussed in classrooms; "we did a few mini lessons on media," said Rebecca Meyer, a grade two teacher at Mentor College. "How it can entertain, inform and persuade the reader. We made posters with the intent to inform and gently persuade [students to buy the bracelets]. The students really took a lot away from the fundraiser, including the meaning of empathy, compassion and teamwork."
Some Mentor students were indirectly affected by the shock of the typhoon, having nannies from the Philippines whose friends weren't found.
"The benefits [of this fundraiser] are much more than a textbook could offer," Meyer said. "It creates a team atmosphere with real purpose. It connects the students to the real world on an attainable level, and it gives all of us something to strive for as one unit."
The students' fundraising project was a great success with many lessons learned about the media, how to work as a team and how to help those who are hurting in a different country, right here at home in Mississauga.