There are a lot of different clubs in schools but let me explain our 'out of the ordinary club': the Humanitarian club.
They are school children from Madeleine-de-Roybon Elementary School (CEPEO) who like to help other young people who live in poverty and are of need. Our students make 'Pocket Buddies' to bring smiles to other children or to fundraise for local or international charities who provide food, clothing, shelter and schooling with a focus on children since 2014.
Our ‘Buddies’ are made of yarn and we dress them using recycled fabric. We make these ‘Buddies’ during our lunch hour at school and then sell them either at school or during weekend fundraising events. We hope to raise money for children or women in need, but we also make them so that other children like ourselves can have a ‘Buddy’ that was made especially for them with great care and with love. We call these "Buddies" the Pocket Buddies.
The Pocket Buddies so far have traveled to Vietnam, India, Australia, Panama, Thailand, Ukraine, Haiti, Lebanon, and of course in many parts of Canada.
The greatest wish of the organizers is that by encouraging the values of volunteerism to our own students through simple and achievable altruistic acts, they can realize the importance of their efforts to relay to others throughout their lives. Through our community efforts our aim is to continue creating awareness for our young people by placing value in healthy living through simple acts of kindness. Indeed their efforts have already made an impact in our school community and beyond. As examples, some of our students have already extended their efforts through the sales of sweets and pastries, wish cards or by participating in music concerts as a way of extending comfort and care to non-profit organizations of their choice.
Not only do the students help around them all year around but they also never stop thinking about others and how to help by bringing new ideas to their humanitarian club at school and also to their parents or community. They became aware of their strength and are motivated to do what they can in order to live in a better world.
Furthermore, the diverse nature of these ‘Buddies’ emphasizes how each and every one of us are capable of reaching out in acceptance of others and that our differences in this world are essential for a better tomorrow. Our young members thus create 'Buddies' that reach out to represent every ethnicity and tendency without prejudice and without discrimination.
Through these gestures, our students have become aware of how blessed we are to live in a world where DIVERSITY is indeed a TREASURE!
Jacynthe is a French teacher at École Madeleine-de-Roybon elementary public school. The idea was born one day in 2013 when she decided to make 'Rainbow bracelets' to Kenyan Children with her students. Pictures of smiling children over plastic bracelets brought a desire to do more. It has now been 5 years of making Pocket Buddies and 5 years of joy!