Doing good has paid off in a big way for the students at Brooksbank Elementary School. The school's impressive "Do-Gooders" club has been awarded with $4000 from Free The Children to support education for children in Kenya.
"We wanted to inspire other children to succeed, which is why we have decided to support a school in East Africa. We have all benefitted so much from our school and we want to give that same opportunity to other children," said Adam Yahav, a grade seven student at Brooksbank Elementary.
Yahav is one of roughly 65 children in Brooksbank Elementary's Do-Gooders club. The club started five years ago when a combination of students in grades six and seven from the elementary schools in the Sutherland Secondary Family of Schools started doing good deeds. For an entire school year, the students worked collaboratively across schools to support their school communities in many ways. As a result of their efforts, the students were honoured with tickets to We Day in downtown Vancouver. We Day is an inspirational event hosted by Free The Children that celebrates the charitable work of children. Free The Children is an international charity that offers help to children in Canada, the U.S.A. and the U.K. to raise funds and undertake initiatives to support children in developing nations.
We Day provided additional inspiration for the students. The Brooksbank Elementary Do-Gooders club has continued to thrive every year since, with students undertaking many initiatives to support Free The Children.
"We decided to support Free The Children because it's about children helping other children," said Nikayla Allen, a grade seven student at Brooksbank Elementary.
The Do-Gooders have undertaken all sorts of fun and interactive activities and events focusing on doing positive things for the school to build a culture of belonging and pride. Their efforts have garnered great support, with students and staff embracing the spirit of social responsibility. The Do-Gooders' club has grown from roughly five students to a group of 65 caring and passionate students.
"Once you had an idea, you just put it out there and there was no wrong idea and no one saying no," said Yahav. "It was student-led and this really worked because it wasn't boring. It was exciting and crazy and fun."
The Do-Gooders once dressed-up like superheroes and did a recycling campaign where they gave awards to those whom they saw recycling at school. Another time they melted down crayons to create multi-coloured crayons to signify the importance and value of diversity. There were sports themed events, music themed events, arts themed events – the students did anything they wanted as long as it would help others and help build a positive school community.
"The students really have changed from 'me' to 'we'. They are looking outward and it has really impacted the school," said Vicky Milner, teacher sponsor of the Do-Gooders club at Brooksbank Elementary School.
Over the past four years as the Do-Gooders have evolved, they have continued to include fundraising for Free The Children in their initiatives. All of their efforts are now being recognized with a Young Idealist Award from Free The Children valued at $4000. The students are excited to be able to donate this money to a school in Kenya.
Above and beyond the benefits of helping others, members of the Do-Gooders club say it has also impacted them personally in many ways. They have learned how to help others, make friends, speak publically, be supportive, be leaders, try new things, over come fears and dream big, explained Angelina Tonino-Macdonald, a grade seven student. Overall, they have learned that living to help others benefits everyone, including oneself.
"We have really just grown together as a team and we hope we've left a positive legacy in our school," said Yahav.