Charitable giving is taking flight at John Mahood Public School where students are raising money for KidsAbility through the Adopt A Butterfly Campaign.
Students can donate one dollar, or more if they so choose, to post a colourful paper butterfly with their name on it inside the Elmira school.
Organized by Grade 3/4 French immersion teacher, Shemira Sheriff, junior/senior Kindergarten teacher Debbie Martin, and junior/senior Kindergarten ECE Kirby Fischer, they’ve already raised more than last year, just one week into the campaign.
“Last year we had a Me to We club with Free the Children and had been approached by the KidsAbility. So we had done the campaign last year and this year there’s no Me to We club. We are partnered with another class and we do character education. One of the characters is social responsibility. And so the same person had approached me and said are you interested in doing it this year so I took it with that approach,” Sheriff said.
Not being chosen as a Me to We school this year has been a blessing in disguise, since the students seem more engaged with the KidsAbility cause. KidsAbility helps children with a wide range of special needs across Waterloo Region.
“It almost touches every student. Either they’ve had a brother or a sister who used the services or they themselves have used it. When I had talked to Tracy, our principal last year, she had said that a lot of people benefit from it. So that’s why we had taken it on last year and that’s why we decided to do it again this year,” Sheriff said.
The students in the two classes are encouraging their peers to purchase butterflies. So far they’ve raised nearly $250. The campaign runs until the KidsAbility Radiothon on Apr. 29. It will be held at Conestoga Mall from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sheriff says she’ll deliver the raised funds there.
Rather than posting the butterflies all on one wall, the students have made the whole school colourful.
“We’ve actually allowed them to just put it outside their classroom. There’s butterflies all over the school,” Sheriff said.
They don’t have a set goal in mind but after March Break the students from the two classes will be going around the school telling the students how much they’ve raised so far and letting them know they want to sell out of their 200 butterflies.
She says she sees a lot of parents responding to it because they recognize it is an organization that does good work in the community. It’s also more local than Me to We.
“I think that more people are using the services, I think that’s why. I think a lot of people recognize it and go ‘oh hey, we’re using that.’ Or maybe people are feeling generous because we haven’t done any other fundraising,” Sheriff said.
Sheriff also does a French poetry cafe with her class each year, which raises money for various charities. As an educator, it’s more than about supporting a good cause.
“I think that it’s a good learning experience for them, that they are able to understand and value their own lives and not take things for granted,” Sheriff said. “And know that even though they’re young they can make a change.”