Taking Action

Photo highlights from United Way’s Make Your Mark on Poverty projects

Classrooms across the Capital Region are tackling poverty with creative projects funded through United Way’s Make Your Mark on Poverty initiative. We had a chance to visit some of the projects currently underway and talk to the dedicated teachers and students involved.

The Street Store: At Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary, students took on the challenge of launching a donation centre at the school and a store in downtown Edmonton. “We have launched the Street Store in downtown Edmonton, and it has been so well received that we are looking to expand the project to other sites,” says Junior High Campus Pastor Shaun Smith.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our own community – from students, teachers, community members, and outside groups that have donated quality items to the Street Store.”
– Shaun Smith, Junior High Campus Pastor, Strathcona Christian Academy

Stretching Our Food Power: At St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School, students are sharing healthy, budget-friendly snack recipes from their families to be collected into a recipe book. The majority of the students at the school participate in a breakfast and hot lunch program, so a recipe project seemed like a natural extension of that. “We just make sure all the kids are fed here at the school,” says principal Mark Sylvestre.

“We would never have been able to do this if United Way hadn’t supported us. “
– Mardi Hardt (Bernard), mental health nurse, Abbott Elementary School

Sock Heroes: At Abbott Elementary School, Grade 2 and 3 students took on a mental health project that involved creating sock puppets as a way to identify the qualities of a hero and increase their levels of hope. Support was provided from Lawton Junior High School students and a paid artist-in-residence. “The kids loved it,” says school mental health nurse Mardi Hardt (Bernard), who explains that positive mental health includes developing a sense of hope and optimism, and the concept of everyday heroes is often used to bring that out.

“I have really enjoyed seeing everyone pull together to create the book. It has been an excellent example of how cooperation and communication can accomplish much.”
– Roisin Cahill, Grade 11 student

It’s a Colourful Life: Students at École Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d’Youville (ESSMY) in St. Albert used photos from community members highlighting a favourite place to read or a place that promotes literacy. Photos were then turned into colouring pages which have been made into a book with proceeds to support the Centre for Family Literacy and Star Literacy.
“The students are very much enjoying the project. It has provided students with the opportunity to stimulate their creativity and leadership skills,” says religion teacher Louise Shervey.

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