Grade 6 teacher Tracy McElhinney’s students formed a new foundation

Students form foundation to help others

A new foundation has been formed in Summerland, called Stop the Struggle.

A new foundation has been formed in Summerland, called Stop the Struggle.

It is the initiative of Grade 6 students from the Summerland Middle School.

Teacher Tracy McElhinney has taught her class about the ripple effect that comes from doing random acts of kindness.

As a result, her students decided to form a foundation with the goal of helping other people.

The name Stop the Struggle came about because “some people are just struggling in this world,” explained Logan Cupples.

The students also started working with slogans.

“We voted for a name and Stop the Struggle was the best one by far,” said Emma Hewitt, “and our slogan turned out to be, helping you is what we do.”

It was decided that the foundation would help a family in need to have an extra special Christmas.

They contacted the South Okanagan Women in Need Society. “We asked to sponsor a family and they said it would take a couple of days to go through the process to find us a family,” said Akeesha Robinson.

They had asked for a family with children that were close in age to themselves.

When the reply came back to the foundation, they were not given the name of the family, but rather a number…they would be shopping for family number 210.

Each of the family members was able to ask for two items that they wished for. They were also asked what their household needs were.

The foundation now had to turn their attention to fundraising.

“We wanted to raise money to help them, so we decided to have a booth at light up,” explained Abbie Mistal. “We made gingersnap cookies and Rice Krispies squares and then we sold them.”

Candy bags and hot chocolate were also sold.

“People were very kind and nice,” said Matthew Bird. “They gave us more money than we expected. We made way over our goal and exceeded it by $100.”

A bake sale was held at the school, in order to sell the goodies that were left over from the booth sales. Everything sold for $1.

The Foundation also received cash donations and gift cards from local businesses.

All in all they were able to raise $727 for their cause.

Kiara Sandrelli explained that the foundation had also done all of their own advertising.

“We did banners around our school and a couple of the kids did a big banner to put up as our sign,” she said. “Lots of kids made posters and we went around to our neighbours and gave them flyers.”

McElhinney said that families got involved too. Parents helped with baking, donations and the actual set up and take down of the booth at light up. The leadership class at the middle school helped with getting things organized.

“This was really a huge team effort,” she said. “Everyone came together.”

Once the funds were raised they were deposited into the school account.

After doing the math together the group determined how much they would be able to spend on each present on the family’s wish list.

Miss McElhinney went out and bought all the things and she found good prices.

“With the receipt the school would pay her back,” explained Jessica Thiede.

“We were so fortunate to be able to get everything on the list, plus more stuff,” said McElhinney.

The only thing left to do now, was to wrap the presents and deliver them to the designated church, from where they would be then given out to the family in need.

The result of working on this humanitarian project has been positive for the students.

“The energy in this classroom for the last couple of weeks has been unreal,” said McElhinny. “They’ve been so excited.”

This will not be the last our community hears from Stop the Struggle Foundation.

They are already planning other initiatives for the coming year.

“For the random acts of kindness week in February, we want to raise more money to buy goats for people in Africa,” said Keiran Sunderman-Wilkes.

If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at carlamcleod@shaw.ca or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.