Teachers Mary Yoshihara and Susan Johnson, leading a class of grade 3 students at Cougar Canyon Elementary School, made contact with the North Delta Refugee Project (NDRP) via MP Carla Qualtrough’s office this spring.
“Is there a way in which our grade 3 students could make some small difference in the lives of Syrian refugee families? We are asking students to think of ways we could help the community, or help newcomers to Canada,” wrote Ms. Yoshihara.
From this question grew a project involving many Valentines day cookies, sold at a bake sale at the school, and many gently used books donated to give to the Syrian children to assist with their English learning. The money raised at the bake sale transformed into grocery gift-cards for 7 families, and each of the children in those families also received a book package and hand-made card from the children in the class.
Members of the NDRP made the deliveries to the families, who sincerely appreciated the gesture of support from strangers, and particularly the gift cards, as the cost of living continues to be a big challenge for these newcomer families.
The Cougar Canyon students reflected on their experience as well:
“I felt happy and relieved that the families got the presents…a refugee’s journey is hard.” — Maya
“I was glad and proud of the whole class. I was also happy to help too because we were working hard to raise money for the refugees.” — Fiona
“I thought it was good to help the refugee families in Delta and I HOPE they have a good time in Canada.” — Brody
“I want to donate more gifts to them. I hope they are dong well and I want to let them know they are safe here. — Kartik
“I felt amazed that the refugees really enjoyed our gifts. I love that we got to help others who needed us!” — Hannah
“I felt hopeful for the refugees and surprised at how much money we raised.” — Willem
“An important message in their story is: Never give up.” — Jasmine
The NDRP was pleased to support the learning of these empathetic students, as they reached out to the newcomer families in our community, and so grateful for the initiative of teachers Ms. Yoshihara and Ms. Johnson, in deepening their students’ awareness of newcomers in our community, and in encouraging the support of parents.