A class at Ecole Lacombe Junior High School is learning about the joys of giving.
Suzanne Williamson, a Grade 9 Humanities teacher at the school, said her homeroom class came up with the idea of collecting donations of socks for the Safe Harbour Society in Red Deer earlier this fall.
Their efforts turned out to be a tremendous success.
”I dropped off over 300 pairs of new socks and over 50 pairs of gently-used socks to Safe Harbour Society in Red Deer after school on Friday. They were thrilled, said Williamson.
The 9C class opted to do a sock drive as the Safe Harbor Society had put out a call informing the public they desperately needed socks for the homeless.
As Williamson explained, over the past two weeks, the students from her homeroom collected socks from the various homerooms at the school.
“We want the kids to learn about different community service projects. Different classes will often do different things,” she said. “At the beginning of this year, I noticed that Safe Harbour had put out a call about a desperate need for socks. And I thought that would be a service project that we could do to start off the year.”
She took it to her class and they were enthusiastic about the concept right off the bat, although other service project ideas were discussed, too.
“We did some brainstorming, and the kids really wanted to this one.”
Right away, they started spreading the word that other students and staff could either donate socks or money, which would in turn be used to purchase new pairs of socks as well. “We gave containers to all of the different classes in the school, and for the last three weeks we’ve been promoting it through our announcements while also giving different statistics about homelessness as well and talking about the Safe Harbour Society.
“Friday was our last day, so the kids went around and collected all of the containers and we actually ended up with over 200 pairs of socks and over 50 pairs of gently used socks,” she said. “We also ended up with enough money being donated that after school, I went to Dollarama and ended up buying over 100 pairs of socks with the money, too.”
She then drove into Red Deer and dropped them off, and she added the quality of the socks was excellent, including several pairs of good, warm, thermal socks – ideal for chilly Central Alberta temperatures.
“When the kids saw the quality of the socks, we were all just blown away,” she said.
“It was awesome – we were just so thrilled. And the people that I talked to when I dropped them off – they were just floored that we had thought of them.”
Williamson said that sometimes, youth get a bad rap in society and she wants to show how helpful, compassionate and sensitive they can be to the needs of others. “People don’t always realize how many positive things they are actually doing and getting involved with.”
Meanwhile, she said that the school’s students and staff consistently endeavor to give back to Central Alberta when and where they can. Projects can range from picking up trash to doing food drives close to Christmas.
Ultimately, it’s also about helping to develop empathy skills. “Not everybody has a nice home life, or is in a good situation. Sometimes, the smallest things can help out. Not only do we do the fundraising kinds of things for charities, but we also, as mentioned, have groups going out in different parts of the community to pick up garbage and to do that kind of stuff.
“Just helping to make things a little bit better,” she said. “My kids have consistently been awesome.
”Our staff is also currently collecting money for Red Deer’s Ronald McDonald House through ‘Casual Friday’ donations,” she said.