MUSICIAN JESSE RUBEN spends time with some Waiting for the Bus program toddlers and their parents at the old Glacier View Elementary School site. Ruben's visit helped raise about $2

MUSICIAN JESSE RUBEN spends time with some Waiting for the Bus program toddlers and their parents at the old Glacier View Elementary School site. Ruben's visit helped raise about $2

Jesse Ruben leads fundraising efforts

New York-based singer/songwriter returns to Valley to lend a hand at Queneesh

A new playground at the old Glacier View Elementary School site is about $2,500 closer to reality thanks to a series of fundraisers involving musician Jesse Ruben.

Queneesh Elementary acting vice-principal Jen Turner notes her Grade 6 and 7 class came up with the idea to invite the New York-based singer/songwriter back to the Valley to help fundraise for their project.

“It’s a great start for the project,” Turner says of the $2,500, noting at least $20,000 is needed for a basic piece of playground equipment, and her students already have numerous fundraising ideas cooked up for the fall, including a raffle which is in the works for September.

“They have lots of ideas, and I know that the families down at the Glacier View site, whose little kids are going to the Waiting for the Bus program, are so happy that this is getting some attention, and they’re so excited for the future of that site down there for a playground for their kids.”

Now Glacier View Learning Centre, which is an alternate high school, the site has no playground as it was in disrepair and was torn down last year. But, the Waiting for the Bus program, which is similar to StrongStart, started at the school last year, and the toddlers in it haven’t had access to any playground equipment.

When Turner’s class at Queneesh heard about the issue, they quickly suggested seeing if Ruben would come back to the Valley to help with some fundraisers for new playground equipment.

Ruben came here earlier this year to help inspire Comox Valley students with his song We Can, which ties in well with the Valley’s I Can initiative — an initiative designed to empower students through self-directed community service projects.

Ruben agreed right away, and was here for a week earlier this month. Again, he visited various Valley elementary schools, providing inspirational concerts to students, but this time he also performed a couple of fundraising concerts, the largest being one at Queneesh, which saw about 580 people in attendance.

Ruben says he enjoyed seeing all the student completed I Can projects, many of which he saw in their early stages during his trip earlier this year.

“To see the progress that they’ve made in six months and the stuff that they’ve done, like some of the projects that those kids did were so incredible,” says Ruben. “I was totally blown away — from energy conservation to animal rescue, to like pretty heavy stuff, like sexual assault and women’s rights, and drug abuse and homelessness — and I mean they were heavy topics for these kids to take on and they really did it, they really went for it.”

Ruben adds he’s amazed at the way the Comox Valley has embraced him, noting people recognized him all over the community, like when he went out for lunch or dinner or stopped by Tim Hortons.

He expects to release a new album early next year and plans to come to the Valley for one of his few album release shows.

“I want you guys to hear the songs before anybody else,” he says. “I love these kids, I love the parents. I think it’s an amazing, incredible community and they’ve really embraced me in the last six or seven months.”

Meanwhile, Turner adds I Can continues to grow in Valley schools.

“Two years ago, it was three schools with 120 kids doing I Can showcase. This year it was five schools with 200 kids doing the I Can showcase,” she says. “We (her and Ruben) visited four more that weren’t involved in the I Can showcase but they’re getting started, so it’s blossoming.

 

“It’s like the first teachers who decided to try this idea, threw the rock in the water, and the ripples are still going.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Cumberland is hoping for its lab at the Cumberland Health Centre to re-open. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland hopeful for lab re-opening

“People in Cumberland are getting a little bit left behind with the loss of that lab.”

Ramona Johnson at the I-Hos Gallery. Photo by Ali Roddam/Black Press
Community rallying to support I-Hos Gallery manager

Ramona Johnson has recently been diagnosed with cancer for the second time

Brian Chow, a medical first responder for the Comox Valley division of St. John Ambulance for over six years, is one of the volunteers giving time at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Comox. Photo supplied
Medical first responders volunteer at Comox vaccine clinic

St. John Ambulance Medical First Responder (MFR) volunteers are providing support and… Continue reading

A West Vancouver developer has applied to the City of Courtenay to construct a 39-unit strata development at 2650 Copperfield Rd. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay council gives second reading to contentious development proposal

At the May 3 meeting, Courtenay council approved second reading for a… Continue reading

Jay Valeri and Lyndsey Bell own Bigfoot Donuts in downtown Courtenay. File photo
Courtenay donut shop wins Small Business BC Award

Bigfoot Donuts has won the Premier’s People’s Choice category of the Small… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Jay Valeri and Lyndsey Bell own Bigfoot Donuts in downtown Courtenay. File photo
Courtenay donut shop wins Small Business BC Award

Bigfoot Donuts has won the Premier’s People’s Choice category of the Small… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read