We Day fundraiser

After a two-year long project that taught primary school students how to manage a microcredit loan, now its paying off in leaps and bounds.

Fifteen students from JA Laird Elementary School have been selected to attend a daylong workshop on WE Day hosted by the international charity Free the Children in Calgary, AB on October 27th.

Two years ago, my class began committing to one local and one global action, said Alyssan Gauthier, JA Laird Elementary School event organizer and teacher chaperone. We started a microcredit loan we ended up going with a school in Tanzania, Africa.

Her students contributed $1,000 to the Tanzanian school to help cover the construction costs to get windows and ceiling materials.

My students were learning about how microcredit loans can alleviate poverty, or change the cycle of poverty, said Ms. Gauthier. We created an art calendar with our Grade 1 buddies from Eileen Madson Primary School two years ago and we sold those to raise this loan. Weve also been doing the juice box recycling for the last couple of years at JA Laird and because of that, Ive been submitting reports to Free the Children, which is a non-profit, non-denominational organization.

As a result, Free the Children helps organize both local and international initiatives to work on social issues.

There are programs for education locally and globally, different programs to alleviate poverty, programs for clean water initiatives and environmental initiatives, she explained. We created our own initiatives here at Laird, through my class, and I submit reports to them about our one local and one global action each year. So, this year, we were awarded tickets to WE Day.

WE Day is a Free the Children celebration for world leaders and pop stars who attempt to motivate students to think about changing the world in a positive way.

And, you cant buy tickets to WE Day, said Ms. Gauthier. You have to earn them by submitting these reports and then (Free the Children) choses how many tickets to send your group. This year, they sent us 17 tickets.

But, in order to attend, the selected students had to apply to receive a ticket by providing a teacher reference and then being entered in a draw.

Grade 5 students such as Hailey Barck, Carter Digney, Emmylou Grieve, Kate Hale, Keltie Irwin, Amber Jefferson, Callie Krebs, Reece Lawrick, Megan McGregor, Carly Nickurak, Nicholas Paccagnan and Mackenzie Tenta will be attending WE Day this year along with Grade 6 students Summer Dixon Ingham, Tyson Hagen and Melissa Wall. There will be two teacher chaperones attending the celebration with the troupe.

In addition, participating students had to fundraise $1,000 for a bus rental, bus driver and a substitute teacher to cover Ms. Gauthiers class during her absence.

The parents raised $400 supervising bouncy castles at this years Oktoberfest and the students raised $600 recently at a student barbecue held at Home Hardware. Lastly, the Invermere Rotary Club provided a $200 sponsorship for children completing the workshop totalling $1,200.

Theyre (the students) so excited, concluded Ms. Gauthier. I think its great anytime we can provide that type of experience in the small town of Invermere. Its going to take place at the (Scotiabank) Saddledome in Calgary and there wont be an empty seat, so its going to be quite the event.