A student-led initiative at Ethel Gardiner PS in Georgetown has resulted in the collection of thousands of pop can tabs to help raise funds for regional nursing homes to help support assistive devices like wheelchairs and walkers.
Grade 8 students Marko, Eshan and Zara, who are also members of the 676 Lorne Scots Army Cadets out of Georgetown, started the idea.
“There was an initiative through the Cadets to collect pop tabs and these three students took the initiative to bring this to our entire school community, asking for our school community to send their pop tabs in,” explains Principal Mareika Smith. The tabs are sold for its aluminum.
This initiative was connected to honouring Remembrance Day this month. The students say this initiative is especially important because of the ability to help veterans ‒ some of whom live in long-term care facilities ‒ and honour the sacrifices they have made to secure freedom for others.
“Our war veterans fought for us, they volunteered for our communities so it is important to give back to them,” says Marko.
Zara says, “They fought for our country, and I wanted to help them for helping us.”
“They fought for us so we should try to help them as much as we can, even if it is just a few pop-can tabs,” says Eshan.
“The cadets have collected with enthusiasm, spreading the idea to their schools, community groups, families and beyond,” says Captain Cara Lacey of the 676 Lorne Scots, RCACC, noting the Elora branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is coordinating this initiative. “I am so proud of their incredible interest in supporting this great cause, and I love that they understand the need and see the return value at the end.”
Smith explains the initiative is positive for the school to participate in as the objectives line up well with the school’s values as well as tying in key parts of the HDSB’s 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan
and the Eco-School club goals.
“We had students approach us with an initiative that they felt passionate about and that connected with their lives outside of our school community. It was also an initiative that involved repurposing items in a way that aligns with our Eco-School goals.”
Smith says their own words in describing the project reflected their understanding that small actions can have an impact and this is the kind of learning the school wants students to experience.
“When we honour student voice and engagement it gives students a sense of agency in their own role as members of not only our school community but of the larger school community. And this is what we want, to empower students to be active citizens who feel passionately about taking action and helping others. We were grateful for the response our school community had to this initiative - it takes a village.”