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Chilliwack students help make wishes come true
The front foyer at Promontory elementary last Wednesday morning was like a pirate's treasure trove.
Pennies, nickels, dimes, loonies, toonies, $5, $10, $20, even a lone $50 bill filled multiple ice cream buckets, recycling bins and laundry baskets – all for the Make a Wish Foundation.
Every year the community school focuses on one charity to support. Last year it raised $3,500 for the MS Society, and the year prior it raised $2,500 for Run for Water.
This year, the school wanted to focus on kids.
The Make a Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to give them hope, strength and joy in such trying times.
Since September, Promontory students have been filling Make a Wish star banks with spare change and bills. They don't know how much has been raised, but early estimates among students are anywhere from $1,200 to $2,900.
"It shows that kids like us can make a difference in the world," said Grade 6 student Brianna Baisley.
"It's a chance for us to show the whole school what we can do if we all work together," added Grade 6 student Julia Sprott.
To manage the fundraising initiative, the school formed a Helping Hands club led by its Grade 5 and 6 students.
Initially it was started just for Make a Wish, but soon, ideas started pouring in. They wanted to help local families, raise funds for the school's sponsored child in Africa, and raise awareness about school centric issues like bullying.
They raised $450 through a bake sale, which went towards providing Christmas for two local families. They held a food and coat drive, collecting over 1,000 items for the Salvation Army Food Bank, and over 500 coats, scarves and gloves for local shelters. They raised $250 through a survivor challenge – teachers versus students – to support the school's sponsored child in Africa. They're also selling anti-bullying t-shirts designed by the students.
"The neat thing is, they've taken this one little thing and run with it," said Grade 4-5 teacher Jody Holford, who is constantly stopped in the hallways by Helping Hands members offering up new fundraising ideas. "They are doing so much good with this on their own; it's given them so much independent power.
"There's so many bad things that happen in the world, but working here, with these kids and these people, reminds me every day of how much good exists too."