Fearsome fundraiser

Students and Halloween for Hunger Poster

St. Thomas More students Angelica Miraples, 12,
Samira Agrippa, 12, and Blake Villagracia, 13, with the
posters they made for the ‘Halloween for Hunger’ fundraiser.

For St. Thomas More Catholic School students, it was more about doling out the treats than asking for them.

The east Scarborough school organized “Halloween for Hunger” – a dance for intermediate students on Oct. 31 that featured a ticket price of one non-perishable food item as well as a loonie for the school’s year long fundraiser.

“Every loonie that is donated is used to purchase one brick to construct a school in either Kenya or Ecuador,” said Paula Chambers, principal of St. Thomas More.

“Our students then form connections with students overseas,” said Chambers, who added a select number of high schoolers from Pope John Paul II volunteer to help with construction during the summer.

Since students from More are too young to volunteer their efforts on the front lines, they do their bit through the student-run Social Justice Committee that was formed at the beginning of the school year.

From scheduled trips that include volunteering at a downtown soup kitchen to hosting a student artwork auction, the committee plans different events to encourage students into giving back to the community.

“We asked ourselves, how can we start small and give back to the community?” Chambers said.

Eva Henn, the school’s special education teacher for the intermediate division, also serves as the chair of the committee.

Henn says 10 students who were considered to be “potential leaders” were chosen in the school to work as members of the club, in conjunction with the “Me-to-We” foundation, led by renowned philanthropic brothers Marc and Craig Kielberger.

“The message for ’Me-to-We’ is ’Let’s not wait till we grow up,’ ” said Henn, who added that the organization’s mandate was to assist children in Third World countries by providing education.

“The message is ’Let’s not wait until we’re adults to make a difference. There are things that we can do as kids so let’s do whatever we can at our level.’ ”

Teachers selected the 10 candidates based on their motivation, leadership potential, enthusiasm, good listening skills and desire to work as a team. The candidates were then recruited into a Leadership Training program.

“We have the students involved in the program with the purpose of involving other students in taking an active role in ’Me-to-We’ activities,” Chambers said.

“It was children helping children as the theme and our initiative grew out of that.”

Henn added: “You see the difference in their attitude. There’s a change in our students because they’re giving. It’s quite amazing how the kids have taken it to heart.”

Committee member Samira Agrippa, 12, said she wanted “to take it to the next step. I’ve learned something here and I may want to show other people in high school too.”