Sstudents create gift bags for homeless

Take a tour of École Puntledge Park elementary school this year and you will notice something new.

ÉCOLE PUNTLEDGE PARK students are collecting items to create Christmas gift bags for homeless people.

Take a tour of École Puntledge Park elementary school this year and you will notice something new.

The Puntledge staff and students are sharing their ‘I Can’ spirit. Last school year, teachers Doug David and Nick Moore introduced their Grade 5/6 class to the ‘I Can’ initiative.

The concept came from Kiran Bir Sethi, a teacher in India who challenged her students to make a difference in their local communities. The movement became infectious and as a result millions of children in India were identifying problems in their communities and developing strategies to solve those problems.

Inspired by Kiran Bir Sethi’s remarkable TED talk, the Puntledge Grade 5/6 students began developing their own I Can projects by identifying issues in their community and implementing strategies to make a difference.

Within a short time, the I Can spirit had spread around the school district and other intermediate students were embarking on initiatives to support their larger community.

Fast forward a year later and Puntledge Park has taken the lead from Mr. Moore and Mr. David’s class to undertake I Can challenges schoolwide. Mme. Chantal Stefan, is a student teacher at Puntledge Park and also the founder of the non-profit organization Everybody Deserves a Smile.

EDAS’ volunteers help kindness grow in a hands-on way throughout communities across Vancouver Island. One of EDAS’ annual projects is to provide homeless people in the Comox Valley with a Christmas Care Package during the holiday season.

With Mme. Stefan’s experience, the students and staff members are ready to show their I Can spirit by supporting the homeless this Christmas.

“We challenged students at the beginning of this school year to take on I Can projects. This is a great example of I Can as every student in our school will be making a contribution to this effort,” noted Puntledge principal Kevin Reimer.

In the coming weeks all students at Puntledge Park will create gift bags, Christmas cards, and taking collections of donated items to fill the bags. With more than 460 students in the school Puntledge students will be able to supply a Christmas Care Package for every homeless person in the Comox Valley and many in Victoria as well.

To make this I Can project a success, Puntledge Park needs some significant help from the community. École Puntledge Park Elementary will be the drop-off centre for Comox Valley citizens who would like to help Puntledge students make a difference.

The students of Puntledge Park are looking for the following items in new or gift-like condition to be dropped off at the school: toques, scarves, mitts, socks, brushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap. The students will decorate gift bags, make Christmas cards and bake cookies to go in each bag along with the donated items. The school will accept items until Dec. 7.

— École Puntledge Park Elementary

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