Submitted by Karen Monaghan –
From June 11 to 15, Students at Connaught Public School in Hintonburg celebrated Pay it Forward Week. ‘Pay it Forward’ means to respond to a person’s kindness by being kind to someone else. During this unique fundraiser, students collected donations and in recognition of this support, they did good deeds to help others in the community (like a dance-a-thon, but with good deeds instead of dancing!).
The idea of Pay it Forward Week was to do good for the community while raising the money needed to improve Connaught’s schoolyard (see: www.connaughtschoolyardrenewal.ca). Schoolyard improvement plans include building a nature education centre and a music garden as well as planting more shade trees and rehabilitating the sports field.
For their Pay it Forward project, one junior class took a walk around the neighbourhood to give out plants and notes to say ‘Thank you for being our neighbour’. Recipients included local business owners, a bus driver and a busker. All were very touched by the gesture of kindness – some were even moved to tears.
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Some primary classes also took to the sidewalks to write positive chalk messages intended to brighten the day of anyone passing by. Messages included comments such as, “You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing”, and “Amuse-toi bien!”.
Other Pay it Forward projects included singing to seniors at local long-term care homes, making gifts for patients in hospitals, making bookmarks for a local literacy group, and writing thank you letters to police officers.
Donations are still trickling in but Pay it Forward Week has raised over $7,000 so far from business and online sponsorships alone (student sponsorships are still being totalled and will add to this amount).
Pay it Forward Week was organized by Connaught School Council – a parent-led volunteer group – in collaboration with school staff.
Thanks as well to our major sponsors: Susan Chell (Remax Broker), Marche Hintonburg Market, and Chartwell Retirement Residences – Duke of Devonshire Retirement Residence.
Karen Monaghan is a volunteer with the Connaught School Council.