Tuesday | June 18, 2019

Fundraising is important for more reasons than you might think

Fundraising plays a major role in improving the school community. Often, additional funding is needed to pay for extra programs, equipment and the latest technology. Students, parents and teachers often come together to organize everything from auctions and car washes to bake sales and barbecues. But the benefits of fundraising stretch beyond being able to enhance school services and activities.

Fundraising helps build a school community

Joining a fundraising committee brings parents together, helping them get to know members of the school community. Working together to organize and plan events, set goals, and make each initiative a success increases team building, establishes partnerships and creates a sense of belonging and pride that extends to the whole school environment. It’s also a great way to make friends, have fun and feel good about their ability to make a positive impact.

Fundraising teaches kids important skills

It’s not easy to ask for money, work as a team, participate in a talent show or sell cookies to raise funds. These skills have to be learned and developed. What better way to teach kids how to work together, develop organizational skills, overcome their fears, and learn to make a pitch in support of a good cause.

By having the opportunity to participate in a variety of fundraising experiences, they learn about sales and marketing, develop math skills, social skills, how to compromise, lead, and be part of a team. Not everything can be taught in a classroom; some things can be best taught outside of it.

Fundraising helps students and their families feel empowered

It’s hard for any single individual to make a big impact on their own. But when you come together with others who have the same goals, the sky’s the limit. Some students might have creative ideas, while others are better at organizing or implementing the ideas. Others might just want to participate in the event or make a donation.

When a community combines their collective skills, it’s amazing what can be achieved. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the feeling of empowerment these opportunities present to parents and their children. Knowing they played a role to help accomplish a goal builds self-esteem and offers a sense of satisfaction from having accomplished a goal.

Fundraising teaches kids to help others

Young kids are often focused on themselves. It’s not a bad thing, but rather a normal part of child development. As they get older, they realize there is a larger world out there, and if we nurture this caring instinct, they become more civic minded and charitable. They will learn to feel responsible for helping those in need. Fundraising is a great way to help kids develop their sense of community and teaches them how great it feels to help others.

By helping raise money to support a lunch program for classmates who can’t afford food or donating gifts for sick kids during the holidays, for instance, they learn the importance of charity. The good news is that kids who learn to help others from a young age are more likely to grow up wanting to help others as adults. As well, kids who benefit from the fundraising efforts or kindness of others learn there’s a community who cares about them.

Fundraising helps ensure a better environment for future students

Traditional sources of funding alone can’t provide all the money necessary to keep every school up-to-date with technology, programming and other special initiatives. By raising funds, the community comes together to build a better environment for current students as well as the students who come next. They can all benefit from a safer playground, for instance, new portables for an expanding student population, or new equipment for gym class.
Fundraising doesn’t just benefit current students, but it helps put in place a better school environment for future students, too.

February 15th, 2017

Posted In: Uncategorised


Family Day ­Disconnect to Reconnect

If your family is like many others in Canada, your clan is often in the same home, or even the same room, but not necessarily present in the same space. There are many distractions,several of them involving digital screens which have a bad habit of stealing:

  • Time
  • Attention
  • Parental and sibling bonding conversation
  • Laughter
  • Memories

If you have been struggling to get your gang together for a day of fun, camaraderie and presence, mark February 15th on your calendar. Experiment with a day of “analog” time with your family. No Wifi, smartphones, tablets or computers.

Try getting out of the house to ski, skate, or other physical activities everyone can enjoy together.

There are many cities across Canada which are recommending a device­ free Family Day. The ability to resist texting, sending SnapChat messages or posting to social media during mealtime, in the car or at other family gatherings isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Family Day creates a perfect opportunity for you, and your loved ones to “go old school”. Interact, have fun and talk to each other. No typing necessary.

If you, your kids or your spouse find it hard to unplug from your devices and spend a day together, here are some ideas for things you can do together:

Get Physical

If your family is skating, skiing or snowboarding there is little opportunity to tap away at a smartphone. You have some time on chair lifts, but insist your family leave your devices locked in the car.

Consider Family Day skiing on the slopes. Allow your son or daughter to tackle a few double diamond runs. Take time to cruise the bunny hill with your husband. Just remember ­ no one gets left behind.

Even if you have a couch potato or two in your household, do your best to be as inclusive as possible.

Other ideas: Trampolining, snow shoe hiking, gymnastics, theater arts such as improv.

Cook Up Some Fun

If one of your teens or children has shown an interest in the culinary arts, consider taking a class as a family. If your kids take a class,  and develop a passion for something new, you’ll have more offline time.

Digital devices fight boredom, yet they also smother creativity. Disconnecting is good for the mind, body and soul. Encourage your kids to try new things  which can translate into a hobby, or a career.

Other ideas: The Zoo, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma.

Volunteer as a Family

There are many worthy organizations which may benefit from your family volunteering together:

  • OSPCA/Humane Society organizations
  • Local libraries, municipal government organizations
  • Nursing homes and/or hospitals
  • Churches or other religious institutions
  • Food banks, Habitat for Humanity and/or Ronald McDonald House

Activism is helpful to the organizations themselves, and it can also help to prioritize things in life, such as family, education and community. Though we all look forward to a day of rest and relaxation on Family Day, a day of giving back can be much more energizing and enlightening.

There are only a few provinces in Canada, and very few countries in the world, which provide their citizens with the opportunity to be together on a day like Family Day. If you have the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones this year, unplug from the internet and reconnect with your family.

Lock up the electronic devices, and get out into the community.

Your family will be better from the time spent together. Your devices won’t miss you. If all goes as planned, you won’t miss them, either.

February 10th, 2017

Posted In: Uncategorised


Take a Strong Anti-Bullying Stand on Pink Shirt Day

If you are a parent with a child who is getting bullied at school, it is difficult to know how to resolve the situation effectively. Kids and teens are often the victims of bullying, and they are often afraid to ask for help. They may be afraid of being seen as weak, getting in trouble themselves, or increasing the violence or harassment.

Schools aren’t the only places where bullies prey on others. They may also be lurking:

  • In parks, retail plazas and shopping malls
  • In the workplace, both in full and part­-time jobs
  • In neighbourhood streets adjacent to schools and community centres
  • On social media and on instant messaging channels like SnapChat

Here’s how to recognize the signs and symptoms of bullying. Further, how to take action to resolve it before it escalates into something painful.

Pink Shirt Day, which takes place in late February, was pioneered by a group of teens in Nova Scotia a few years ago. A new Grade 9 student in their school was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Instead of “piling on” with those who were making fun, the teens chose to stand up for the young man. In the process, they created an annual wave of anti­bullying activism across Canada.

Here are some tips to keep in mind year round, and communicate with your family about them.

Recognize

It’s important to recognize the difference between conflict and bullying. If there is a single argument, or even a physical fight, that doesn’t necessarily mean someone is being bullied. If there is ongoing harassment, intimidation, and/or emotional abuse, you have a case of a bully or bullies taking you, or your child for a painful ride.

If another child or teen is being rude or mean to your child, but doesn’t seek out, follow or confront them, it’s a different sort of behaviour, but also report it to the school if that is where the abusive behaviour takes place.

If you are a parent or guardian of a child or teen who has mentioned they were harassed at school, you need to take the situation seriously. Find out the cause and nature of the bullying, such as:

  • If they are under pressure to give up money, belongings or even sexual acts
  • Unwanted physical touching, name calling or pursuit
  • Spreading of rumours, photographs or videos
  • Sharing photos on Facebook, Instagram and/or making comments
  • Bullying in online games, where language and behaviour can be extremely rough

If your child or teen seems withdrawn, avoids social events they previously enjoyed, or regularly wants to avoid school, these are signs of bullying.

The Canadian Federal Government offers some great tips on how to spot the signs of Cyberbullying, and act accordingly. If your child suddenly avoids using their computer or mobile device, or quickly shut them off when you come to the room, it is likely a sign of bullying.

React

If you feel a sibling, friend, schoolmate or a loved one is bullied at their school or otherwise, don’t immediately confront the offender or their parents. Kids Help Phone offers some great ways for kids and teens to recognize if they are getting bullied, are bullying others, and what to do to end it.

The best rule of thumb if you are the victim, know the victim or see the victim of bullying is not to take matters into your own hands. Tell somebody who will take action. Don’t react with confrontation or retaliation, ask for help.

Report

If you, your child or teen has been the target of a bully, seek help from:

  • Law enforcement
  • School administration such as principals or teachers you and/or your child or teen trust
  • In the case of cyberbullying, you can contact the social media site, internet service providers or block the person and tell a parent or guardian

Retaliation or confrontation can escalate the situation. If your child says they are having problems at school, be supportive, understanding but objective. If you need inspiration, check out some of the “Tales” on the PinkShirtDay.ca website.

If you’d like to make a difference, and help to prevent bullying of all kinds, participate in a Pink Shirt Day event, purchase an official Pink Shirt, or even rock one of your own! There are lots of opportunities to #pinkitforward on social media and rally your friends and colleagues.

Don’t be a bully, or allow bullying to occur in family, school, or your neighbourhood. Let’s look out for each other, Canada! Let’s stop bullying everywhere!

February 3rd, 2017

Posted In: Uncategorised