Outreach

Winter Carnival Proceeds to Support Covenant House

In December, the Grade 7 class went to Covenant House to help sort out donations. Covenant House is an organization that helps youth aged 16-24 who don’t have a home or family to take care of them. All the money collected from the carnival will help Covenant House with their expenses and what they need in order to support the youth they help.

If you weren't able to attend our carnival, or if you want to relive the fun-filled day, keep reading . . .

As I walk through the gym doors, I see a million different colours. Basketballs are flying crazily through the  air and then being chased. Kids are playing games, their pockets stuffed with candy and a cookie in their hands. Everybody is excited and can’t wait to try every activity. The photo booth has Christmas lights strung from a piano bench, the ice fishing station has a green screen and a fishing pole to take pictures with.

People are singing along to the Disney music. Everything looks like a lot of fun and the money that is being brought in is all going towards Covenant Houses’ new building. Right when you walk in, you see a beautifully decorated booth with bowls of multi-coloured icing and rainbow sprinkles. The vibrant reds and greens of the toppings look perfect when layered on top of a tasty sugar cookie. When I look the other way, I see people throwing basketballs and a  line a mile long with kids waiting patiently for a chance to shoot the balls and get a candy cane reward. Behind that, there is another station with kids standing in front of it. They are holding poles with strings and a magnet on the end. As I look closer, I see a kid pull up his pole and triumphantly take a little fish off the end; the ice fishing booth looks exciting.

Across from that, the snowflake booth has little white pieces of paper strewn all over their table and kids are laughing while they cut out different kinds of snowflakes. At the back of the gym, there are tennis balls and soccer balls, tunnels and tables all set up into an obstacle course. Kids are throwing, running, and jumping with others cheering them on. Finally, in the back corner, there are camera flashes and people holding silly props against their faces to give them a moustache or a funny pair of glasses. There is a black background and Christmas decorations around the bench. All of the booths have a fun and exciting look to them and every little detail makes it look like the perfect Winter Carnival.

“Sometimes, it’s good to be picky”

Last December 6th, 2017, our Grade 7 class had the opportunity to visit Covenant House’s donation room on Drake St. in downtown Vancouver. There we helped sort through the many donations that Covenant House received for the holiday season. There were so many donations to go through, that we were told to be very picky and only keep the items that we would use ourselves.

Before going to Covenant House, we all had some ideas about what Covenant House was. We thought of it as a place to accommodate homeless youth and help get them off the streets. We thought of it as an outreach program that gives youth aged 16-24 food, clothes, and education and job opportunities.

After about one and a half hours of sorting through donations, we had some new thoughts about Covenant House and the donations that they received. Here are some of the things we learned and thought:

“Right now, Covenant House has 58 beds and they aren’t at max capacity!”

“People donate many things that are of no use or are bad quality.”

“A lot of people are in need and we need to help them.”

“So. Many. Donations.”

“They are very picky when it comes to keeping clothes.”

“Covenant House helps other charities by giving those charities the things that they do not need.”

“I know after visiting Covenant House that they treat homeless people to the best of their ability.”

“Sometimes, it’s good to be picky.”

“Donations affect everyone.”

As we begin the year 2018, let us remember to be generous and think of those in our communities that need our help.
 

The Kindness Project

As part of the Grade One unit on "Helping Each Other as Friends and as Learners,"the students were inspired to share their learning with others.  As a class they came up with the idea of doing a "Kindness Project." For this "Kindness Project," they thought it would be good to share a little kindness with our local community.  Thus, on Thursday, December 21st, the students were divided into small groups and stationed at different places on Dunbar Street. They handed out candy canes to pedestrians and shared a special "kindness" message written by each one of them. The purpose of this “Kindness Project” was twofold: to teach people that we value kindness in our world and to spread some Christmas cheer.

The students shared this small act of kindness with over 200 people on that day.  Examples of some the statements given by the pedestrians were: "We need a lot more of this in our world," "My heart grew so big today," "Each kindness message is important and beautiful."  The students were happy and excited to be a part of something so special.  One of the students stated that "my heart has grown 1000 times bigger today!" This feeling of happiness was shared by all that participated.

Remember that when you share kindness with someone you "make them colourful".

The Grade One students sure made a lot of people colourful on that day and now you can go and do the same!

Grade 6 bakes for Chalice

The Grade Six class held a bake sale mid December to raise money for Chalice. Chalice is a Catholic charity that supports community initiatives in 15 countries through the sponsorship of children and elderly in need. ICS has a personal connection with Chalice, as almost every year, we are visited by Deacon Ron, who works with many of these communities and shares their stories with us through pictures, video clips and artifacts from their communities. We look forward to his visit in January 2018. 

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Chalice has been recognized by MoneySense Magazine as one of the best run Canadian Charities for the past six years and we are proud to be putting our efforts into supporting the needs of those less fortunate than us. If you wish to learn more about Chalice, please visit their website: chalice.ca
 
The Grade 6s say, most enthusiastically, "Thank you for your generous support"!

Kindergarten creates sock gift bags

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Thank you so much for all the warm winter socks you recently contributed to our class collection. The Kindergarten students created the gift bags pictured here, which were distributed to needy recipients at St. Albans church throughout December. The guests at the cold weather shelter this past weekend were very grateful for these gifts.
 
Thank you for your kindness and generosity.
From the ICS Kindergarten Class

ICS Choir Sings for Bleinhem Lodge Seniors

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A group of 15 ICS choir members braved the rainy weather, on Friday December 2, to Christmas Carol for Bleinhem Lodge seniors. The choir sang Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, Go Tell it on the Mountain and many more popular Christmas tunes for the group of seniors. Students had an opportunity to meet with the seniors after, and were treated with ice cream!

Care for our common home

LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”.   In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.  (Extract: Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis On Care for Our Common Home.)

In Laudato Si’  Pope Francis addresses “every person living on this planet” and makes an appeal for inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. Pope Francis calls the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges and to join him in embarking on a new path.

The CISVA (Catholic Independent Schools Vancouver Archdiocese) heard this call and our theme for this school year is Care for our Common Home.   As a school and as individuals we will reflect on some of the themes of the papal letter, namely social and ecological justice, and will explore ways of taking action.  We invite you to do the same in your families and communities.

Resources

Video message from Pope Francis
Archdiocese of Vancouver Resources
Top Ten Takeaways from ‘Laudato Si”
CAFOD: Resources