Situated around 25 minutes north of Lacombe is the Mamawi Atosketan Native School (MANS), a privately funded educational facility that welcomes students from the four bands of Maskwacis Cree Nation.
Enter SUPER-MANS, a new hero who does not aim to save the world, but plans to help fundraise to build a new facility to accommodate the school’s growing high school population.
The group hopes to construct the new portion of the school over the next few years, but funding is required to make the vision a reality.
The new school super hero SUPER-MANS, is a recognizable figure to the students and is a character portrayed by Lacombe-based Pastor Lyle Notice. The ‘super’ in SUPER-MANS stands for: small useful people expanding resources for MANS.
The project is spawned off a similar idea developed in an Edmonton church that gives kids an opportunity to use their own creativity and imaginations to help others gain an education.
On Dec. 4th, SUPER-MANS made his debut at the school through a short skit. The students were immediately engaged when SUPER-MANS popped out of a Christmas tree box, after unruly student (played by Luke Bannis) kicked it, frustrated with school and life.
Following the presentation, T-shirts were given out to each student along with a mission – use the resources in your classroom to fundraise for a new school.
Notice said that he is more than happy to be the ‘mascot’ for the fundraiser for a school that promotes hope and a future.
“I would love to see it have more capacity,” he said of MANS. “It is a place where they learn about hope.”
“Everyone loves superheroes because they overcome evil,” Notice said of the character SUPER-MANS. “I really hope I inspire and foster hope.”
SUPER-MANS will be making appearances all across the province over the next few months. A life-size cut out was also created, so students and visitors to the Alberta Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church office in Lacombe can take a selfie with SUPER-MANS in promotion of the initiative.
Lynn McDowell, MANS campaign manager, said the project is designed to engage the students in the fundraising efforts.
“SUPER-MANS really catches the kids’ imaginations,” she said. “We want to turn their goodwill into action, as part of the community.”
Through the superhero and the bridge campaign, the group is aiming to raise $4.9 million, which will not only include a new facility, but also a transportation program, a nutrition program and expand post-secondary support for students.
“We are trying to also raise funds for an after school program to run from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.,” she said. “We want to offer a place that is safe and away from gangs during those hours. We also want to include components that bridge the gap from here to university, so they have options.”
Right after the presentation from SUPER-MANS, the students began to brainstorm with their teacher and fellow classmates about what they could do as a group for a fundraiser. One classroom suggested a bake sale. Another talked over selling bead-work. The possibilities seem endless.
A timeline for the fundraising project was not provided at the time.