“Watch a hero and be a hero!” That was the slogan that Sunalta Elementary students used on their colourful posters to advertise a movie night showing of Big Hero 6, an event to raise funds for UNHCR’s earthquake relief in Nepal.
Karen Anderson, who is a grade 6 teacher at the Calgary school, is coordinator of “We Act,” the school’s community service club, which organized the event. The club, which started three years ago with just a handful of grade 6 students, has now grown to over 60 kids from grades 4, 5 and 6. Sunalta, with about 300 pupils from kindergarten to grade 6, is one of Calgary’s oldest schools and has a strong focus on social responsibility.
This year the club had been working to raise funds to build a school on behalf of the Free the Children organization, successfully meeting its goal. But they still had one remaining fundraising event previously scheduled. “There was lots of news coverage about the earthquake in Nepal,” says Karen, “So the children talked about it and we were very excited to help the people of Nepal through our last movie night.”
A date was picked, posters were created and UNHCR was chosen to receive the funds. Karen did some research on UNHCR’s website and was pleased to see that 86 per cent of all donations raised go to people in need. “I also realized how much shelter was needed and how that’s UNHCR’s specialty,” she says. In the end Karen was buoyed by the fact that the $740 that the 150 students who attended the event raised—about half the school!—would go a long way to providing shelter for quake survivors.
“I’m really proud of the kids and the support we received from the staff, parents and community,” Karen says.