Over 600 SD72 kids reently wrote thank you letters to local front-line workers in an effort by two local teachers to reconnect them to their community during a time of disconnection. Photo by Karen Lutz

Over 600 SD72 kids reently wrote thank you letters to local front-line workers in an effort by two local teachers to reconnect them to their community during a time of disconnection. Photo by Karen Lutz

Keeping Campbell River’s kids connected to their community

Letter writing campaign to local front-line workers just the first of teachers’ ongoing plans

Campbell River’s school students recently sent over 600 hand-drawn letters to local RCMP members, doctors, nurses, paramedics and other front-line workers.

And they’re not stopping there.

The idea was the brainchild of Sandowne Elementary teacher Karen Lutz and colleague Kelsey Creviston at Southgate Middle School. Lutz says she was seeing how the pandemic has been impacting the youth of our community, and knew she needed to do something to help.

“This is really hard on these kids,” she says. “I mean, think about how we’re all struggling emotionally with it as adults, and then just try to picture not having the coping mechanisms we’ve developed and having your whole world turned upside down like these kids have.”

So she called her friend Kelsey and they started bouncing ideas off each other.

“I truly believe that a connected community is a safe community,” Lutz says. “And right now we don’t have that connection. So how do you get people to connect when they’re not allowed to?”

The answer, it turns out, was as simple as taking a few minutes to write a letter, draw a little picture and express your appreciation for someone else’s struggles.

“I was talking to the kids about how these people go from one file to another, one patient to another, and they have no clue what they’re going to do in a day when they’re on the way to work,” Lutz says. “We talked about how when the phone rings, they have to go and maybe don’t get to have Christmas dinner with their families. I asked them if they’d have had to interact with an emergency services person, and all the hands shot up and they started sharing their stories. It was amazing.”

In the end, Lutz and Creviston delivered over 600 letters.

“Its moments like these that are so uplifting and keep us going,” Tweeted the Campbell River Fire Department upon their arrival.

“Honestly,” says RCMP Const. Maury Tyre, “it’s the small things like this that make a big difference to officers on a day-to-day basis. For the most part, police are only dealing with people when something negative is going on and at times that can definitely drag on the soul. Messages from kids and any community member for that matter definitely have the ability to lift the spirits of our officers. So thank you to everyone who took part in this.”

And while Lutz, Creviston and the other teachers of the school district are taking a much-deserved Spring Break right now, they’ll be back continuing their connection-building upon their return to the classroom next week.

“The next one we want to do after Spring Break is to see how many classrooms we can get to paint rocks,” Lutz says. “There’s a great big garden outside the hospital, and how great would it be to fill it with painted rocks done by kids?”

RELATED: Campbell River students send messages of support to first responders

And she’s hoping to get even more than the 600 submissions they got for the first effort.

“I think now that everyone has seen what this can do, we’ll get even more teachers on board for the next one,” she says. “I think it’s possible we get every classroom in the district. I really do.”

But what happens to initiatives like this when everyone has been vaccinated and we’re allowed to connect physically again?

“Well now that we’ve been building connections with the fire hall, and the hospital, and the RCMP, and the ambulance people, once it’s safe, they all want to actually bring the kids in and connect in person,” Lutz says. “We have to make – and keep – these connections between the kids and the community however we can, and now that we’ve started, I’m sure we’ll keep growing it if we work at it a little bit.”

Check out a video on our website (campbellrivermirror.ca) that Lutz put together before delivering all the letters to their recipients if you need a smile today.

Campbell River

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas
Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief

The Pier Street Farmers Market will once again take up residence on Sundays from May to Septmber at the parking lot across from the Community Centre in downtown Campbell River for 2021. Mirror File Photo
Pier Street Farmers Market returns to Cedar Street parking lot for 2021

…and it’s hoped that the addition of artisans this year will make it even better

Some recommendations from the Downtown Safety Select Committee have been approved by Campbell River City Council, including removing the glass stage covering at Spirit Square. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Council going ahead with removing Spirit Square stage covering

But mayor acknowledges need for ‘welcoming, warm place with support services’

A small fire on North Rendezvous Island is the first wildfire of the season in the Campbell River area. Officials are asking people to take caution when burning during these dry conditions. BC Wildfire Dashboard
‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Small fire on North Rendezvous Island first of the season for Campbell River area

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read