Noel Booth Students Go Holiday Shopping for Northern Indigenous Classrooms

December 16, 2019

Two classes from Noel Booth Elementary did some holiday shopping but it wasn’t for themselves or for each other. The group of grades 6 and 7 students took a trip to the store with their teachers as part of a project to give back to those who need it the most living in remote Indigenous communities in Canada.

“We’ve been telling the kids the first step in being a global citizen is to know there are global problems in the world. The second step is finding something that you can do about it,” says Kiera Wass, one of two teachers from Noel Booth Elementary who took on the initiative.

Wass and her teacher colleague, Brittany Anderson, inspired their class to raise funds to buy things for students who don’t get the typical “stamps” and “stickers” a teacher would hand out as rewards for good work.

The idea stemmed from Linda McCullough, Aboriginal Support worker at Noel Booth.

“I saw the posting on Facebook of all the Indigenous communities in our North, in the Arctic, who can’t get certain supplies. And if they do, they’re way too expensive for them. They (the teachers) ran with the whole story. They chose two different schools in the North to buy things for. The kids all had to earn their own money. And they brought it to school and then they all had a list. We came to a dollar store and purchased all these things,” explains McCullough.

The students had to do some work to raise the funds – things at home like chores and babysitting. The families were very supportive of their efforts.

“They were really eager to find a way to earn their money and were really happy to bring it in. They all looked for an extra way to earn some more so they could have a bigger budget to be giving back even more,” mentioned Wass.

Wass’ class raised about $165 and Anderson’s class raised $200. They purchased school supplies like paper, binders and even small toys and cake mix. Anderson said the students wrote out heartfelt letters to accompany the gifts. It was an activity that was curriculum relevant but also community focused.

Word got around about the project, which prompted others in the school community to step up. One of the Special Education Assistant’s Danielle Loynton and her family offered to pay for the cost of shipping the items to Nunavut.

“I just wanted to bring awareness to that, to the school so they can see what it is like in their own country, often we don’t even know, who needs very simple, simple things,” said McCullough.