THE EUREKA SUPPORT Society's Dawne Skeye

Cumberland students support mentally ill Eureka clients

The Comox Valley's Eureka Support Society will receive $5,000 to help support people with persistent mental illness.

The Comox Valley’s Eureka Support Society will receive $5,000 to help support people with persistent mental illness, thanks to the hard work of some Cumberland Junior students.

Grade 9 students Kurestin Cullen, Chelsea Crawford, Cassidy Maximick and Gage McKay’s presentation about the society — which offers a multi-faceted resource centre for adults with persistent mental illness — was voted the best of 13 presentations put together this year by Grade 9 Cumberland Junior students.

“They gave a lot of statistics and a lot of information about what the society actually does,” noted Cumberland teacher Jocelyn Schultz, who co-organized the project at Cumberland with fellow humanities teacher Jina Taylor. “It was a great final presentation.”

Cumberland Junior students have participated in the Toskan Casale Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) for the past four years. Students form into groups earlier in the spring, and each group chooses a local grassroots charity to represent. They then have five weeks to research that charity and create a presentation about it. The group that presents the best case for their charity wins a $5,000 grant from the Toskan Casale Foundation for their charity.

A handful of school staff narrowed down the presentations to the top three, and those three finalist groups presented Friday to seven judges. Four Grade 8 Cumberland Junior students joined Comox Valley School District assistant superintendent Tom Demeo, district principal of education technology Rob Moore and Whale’s Tales Toys owner Judy Osborne to help with the task of choosing the best presentation.

Eureka Support Society offers recreational, social, educational and vocational activities, as well as a safe environment so people with persistent mental illness can feel secure.

The two other finalists this year were Stepping Stones House for Women and the Comox Valley Child Development Association.

Schultz said the students did well and the project provides a good learning experience for them.

“Definitely it’s a lot of work and it’s a lot bigger undertaking than I think the kids realize that it is before they start because they’ve never had to do anything like this before,” she said, adding students learn plenty of valuable skills.

“Lots of the skills that they need for their humanities subjects, their writing skills, their research skills, their public speaking skills, you know, all of those things are touched on in this project for their humanities subjects, even though (this project is) outside of the regular curriculum.”

For more information on YPI, visit


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