This time of year involves the giving of gifts; whether Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanzaa, there are traditionally gift exchanges within the celebrations. However, over the past couple of weeks at St. Clement’s our girls have demonstrated a broader understanding of the importance of giving.
One of our Grads of ’18, Tait, has spearheaded a wonderful project for two years now entitled The Period Purse. It collects and donates pads and tampons to homeless, abused and impoverished menstruators across Ontario. Not only has she coordinated the initiative, but she has also had a number of girls alongside on the weekends assisting and sorting items into purses for distribution.
This past Friday, I had the great good fortune to attend our senior Design class and see Georgia, Emma and Sarah, all Grads of ’18, present a prototype chair that they created to respond to the special needs of students from an elementary school. Our girls have been working alongside students and staff from OCAD University and staff from codesign to create furnishing to support students in their learning. Their chair was a result of a design process and we learned that the chair would be manufactured for the students for whom our girls designed it.
Our girls from Grades 1-12 are also collecting food items to put together fifteen hampers for families at one of our partner schools, the First Nations Public School. Our girls have learned that these hampers are vital in supplementing food supplies over the holidays during what can be an expensive and long time away from school-supported meals.
In a week’s time, our Junior School will spend time with seniors at the Sunnybrook Hospital K Wing, singing Christmas carols and handing out cards, and our Grade 3s will visit Cedarhurst Dementia Care Home. The joy on the faces of the patients and veterans is heart-warming and our girls experience the impact of their voices and hearts.
Students in our Middle School have been assisting at St. Clement’s Church to make and serve lunches every Wednesday and this week saw them contributing to the musical program as well as giving out Christmas cards made by our students.
Finally, the presence and collaborative nature of our Pyjama Day and Snowflake Sale, during which our entire school gathers and listens to performers from Grades 2 to staff, and our parent volunteers organize and run our Sale during the day, reminds us that the little things we give have a very large impact.
While we still have two weeks remaining of school, the broader understanding of the impact of giving is what I wish for all. Whether celebrating Hanukkah commencing this Tuesday evening, Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on the 26th or any holiday celebration, let’s remember that the giving spirit should be year round.