Each grade at Brantford Christian School is partnered with a local organization for their Good Neighbour Campaign activities.
“We just started this last year, trying to do something each month, and that seemed to work quite well, so we are just getting going again,” says Heather Murray, the school’s part- time vice principal and one of the organizers of the campaign.
This month, the junior and senior kindergarten classes are collecting items for the local animal shelter. The class collects blankets, bakes dog biscuits and makes yarn toys. A worker from the shelter comes into the school with an animal.
In November, the Grade 3 class has someone visit from the Salvation Army. The class bakes cookies for the Salvation Army volunteers as well as collects items to donate.
Each month the classes will also pray for the organization they are partnered with. The kindergarten students will pray for the animals, while the Grade 3 class prays for the homeless.
In January, the Grade 7 class will visit residents at the local mental health residence. The students make cards and decorations. Murray says the class will decide on a craft, such as bracelets, to make with the residents.
The Grade 2 class partners with Participation House, a home for residents who have a physical disability. Last year the residents were invited into the school for a soup lunch. “(This year) they are going to visit the home and hopefully sing for them and make some cookies or something for them to take with them,” says Murray, adding that there will probably be a Valentine’s Day theme as the visit is in February.
In March, the Grade 4 class will visit the John Noble Home, a senior’s residence. The class is also involved with a program called SKIPs – Seniors Kids Intergenerational Program. The class visits St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre monthly and makes crafts with the residents.
Something that is beyond the school’s Good Neighbour Campaign is their involvement in a food drive for Why Not City Missions, says Murray, which is run by former parents. “We try to give them food at Thanksgiving and then gifts at Christmas,” explains Murray. The Grade 8 class organizes the food drive in December and in May or June.
The Grade 5 class partners with a pregnancy center in town. Last year someone who works at the center visited the class with her baby, says Murray. The class collected baby gifts and items such as blankets and diapers to donate.
Students in the Grade 1 class create gifts for patients at McMaster Children’s Hospital. The students will make posters and stickers for the patients, and help collect small toys for the hospital’s treasure box.
To get all the classes up and running with their Good Neighbour Campaign partners last year, Murray says one of the school’s parents helped to make all the contacts. This year another parent is helping, and each class has a volunteer schedule.
“The big thing is getting some contacts and ideas,” says Murray. “We’re kind of on a roll and I want to keep it going now that we’ve got something started with these ideas and the contacts made.”
Brantford Christian School is a member of the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS), which supports the Good Neighbour Campaign. The campaign encourages schools to organize and participate in events that serve their local communities.