South Delta students give back
Purple pinkies, shelter boxes, pizza sales and clothing drives – a group of South Delta Secondary students have embraced the spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy at a younger age than most. At last count, 40 students are involved in the school's Interact Club, a service group sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen.
"We have a very strong leadership culture at our school that has developed," sponsor teacher Laurine Dane says, noting there are so many student leadership clubs at SDSS that a monthly meeting has been set up for representatives from each of the groups.
"We're making sure we're all creating our niches but supporting each other in all of our endeavors."
Students involved in the Interact Club have taken on projects that are local, national and international in scope, from shoreline clean-ups to supporting a resource centre in Uganda. This holiday season they are fundraising for ShelterBox Canada, an organization that delivers tents and other equipment to families who have been displaced or are homeless after natural and manmade disasters. The goal is to raise $1,000 to purchase one Shelterbox by selling solar lights and holding Friday pizza sales, sponsored by Panago. Once that goal is achieved, the pizza sales will continue in support of one of the club's ongoing projects, fundraising for the Tekera Resource Centre in Uganda. The centre includes a health clinic with dental and counseling services; a primary school with 400 students; a community and cooperative farm with a "work to earn" program; and a women's craft club with profits from craft sales going to micro-loans.
In the new year the Interact Club has plans for a local project, hosting its third annual clothing drive at SDSS.
Organized as a competition between classrooms, last year the drive collected 1,200 pounds of clothing for Freshwave Ministries, which takes it to the poor and homeless in Greater Vancouver.
"There was really a buy-in from our student body that these things – clothing, purses, blankets or shoes – there are people who live in our community who are benefitting from these things . . . It really brought it home for them that poverty is local," Dane says.
The club was also responsible for the display of white crosses and poppies at the entrance to Tsawwassen in the week leading up to Remembrance Day.
And in late October they raised money for Rotary's PolioPlus program. The campaign involved dying 1,000 students' pinkies purple to raise awareness about the need for polio vaccination in many developing countries, where children's pinkies are often dyed purple after being immunized to prevent a double dosage and to ensure no child is missed.
The $300 collected was then matched by The Rotary Foundation Canada and the federal government, tripling their donation.
Other efforts are sure to come, even if it's simply volunteering in their hometown.
"Any of the community pieces Rotary is doing, we're always invited to participate," Dane says.
To support the students, contact Dane through SDSS at 604-943-7407.