Giving leaders make case for charities

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Leadership is about helping the community — and helping others to help the community.

Ten groups from the Heritage Heights School Leadership classes made presentations on Thursday concerning a charity of their choice which they would like to have the school support.

“In previous years, we would just donate to a charity,” said Grade 8 student Ella Dunham. “It was nice to this year have a say in it.”

A three-person panel judged the presentations. The top two groups will present to the school’s student body, which will choose on Nov. 15 the charity the school will support.

Wow, did Dunham and her project partner Chelsea Taylor have a say. They made a PowerPoint presentation complete with videos and graphics to go along with their researched spoken words in support of Kids Cancer Care.

The charity hit home for Taylor.

“I had a cousin who had a cancer tumour in her stomach,” Taylor said. “She is healthy and happy now.”

Taylor said Kids Cancer Care not only helped her cousin, but also helped others who went through the trauma of visiting her sick relative.

“They were super supportive not just to her (the cousin), but all of us who were visiting her,” Taylor said.

Part of their research included playing journalists and talking to people who have been impacted by cancer.

“We talked to people about their personal experience — everyone has been affected by cancer,” Dunham said.

The Mustard Seed, a homeless shelter in Calgary, received the support of the trio of Grade 7 students Nevan Smith, Gracelynn McHugh and Carson Adams.

McHugh and Adams went down and talked to both staff and residents at the Mustard Seed.

“They were really friendly,” Adams said.

McHugh said visiting the Mustard Seed not only helped the trio’s project, but also knocked down stereotypes about homeless people such as they are dangerous.

“Sure there can be some weird homeless people,” McHugh said. “It’s a stereotype. The people at the Mustard Seed were kind and were really generous.”

They passed on that message in their presentation.

Bailey Powell, a Heritage Heights humanities and leadership teacher, said the project helps students identify with the charity the school will ultimately support.

“We wanted the kids in Leadership to have more ownership of the charity we are supporting,” Powell said. “We will have that assembly on Nov. 15 to further connect with the students.”

She said all the students showed leadership during the project, adding it was difficult for some of them to speak in front of judges and their fellow students.

Taylor added all of the presenters did well in publicizing their important charity of choice.

“Everything hit home in some way,” she said. “That animal shelter one, seeing that dog Sweetpea, it just hit hard.”

In previous years, the charities were short-listed and then one was chosen by the Leadership class for which the school to fundraise.

The leadership class is a Grade 8 and 9 option class (it is a required course in Grade 7), which focuses on service within the school and the community.

Taylor was moved by all the presentations.

The charities were: Alberta Cancer Foundation, Calgary Humane Society, Books Between Friends, The Mustard Seed, Kids Cancer Care, Made by Momma, Accessible Housing Society, Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids, Saving Grace Animal Sanctuary, Children’s Cottage Society.

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