After Don Ottosen, principal of Pinecrest Elementary School made the announcement over the school’s public address system for all students to proceed to the gym for a very special school assembly, the students were greeted by members of the school’s grade five leadership team standing at the front of the gym in their bright yellow t-shirts.
The leadership students were standing beside a large colourful display, which they have completed for this assembly. The display had many pictures of Nepal, bright colourful prayer flags and a large aquarium in the centre.
However, the aquarium was not going to be used for fish – it would hold the coins the students would collect from a coin drive to help the children of Nepal who have been affected by the recent devastating earthquake. Their coin drive was simply named Kids Helping Kids.
For the next 30 minutes, Jennifer Wade, Kevin Harrison and Brenda Harrison presented a slide show that teaches the students about the geography, people, animals and culture in Nepal. The slide show concluded with the details of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that leveled many parts of the country, leaving thousands dead, orphaned and homeless.
At the conclusion of the slide show, the microphone was passed back to Ottosen, who explained how the coin drive will work. It would involve a ‘girl versus boy’ challenge and to kick it off, Ottosen deposits his own jar of coins, divided equally between the two sides of the aquarium. Adding to the coins, a girl comes forward and deposits a $10 bill – into the ‘girls’ side of the aquarium, of course!
And the drive was on.
On May 22, the drive wrapped up and this little school exceeded all expectations by raising $1,400.
Their next door neighbour, the Campbell River United Church heard of their drive and over a few Sundays collected $240 to add to the effort. The Fair Trade Global Market also kicked in $200 to support the drive-so that means the students raised $980 from on their own.
Two years ago when Pinecrest students did a similar challenge, they raised $600 for school supplies for a village in Nepal. Funds received before May 25 were matched by the federal government. All money raised will go to the Canadian Red Cross’s disaster relief fund for Nepal.