Day 11: The Holidays Are For Helping at WCI

The giving spirit is clear to see walking through the halls of the Waterloo Collegiate Institute (WCI) this time of year. The annual Holidays Are For Helping campaign mobilizes the generous student body from November 19 to December 19, through a series of engaging initiatives, to help make a difference in their community.

Students stand with donations

Sarah Deckert, Tori Meklensek, Megan Fish and Mackie Harper stand with their impressive collection of donations.

This year’s fundraising efforts in support of Women’s Crisis Service of Waterloo Region and Monica Place collected more than $7000 worth of items requested by these charities. Megan Fish, a Grade 12 student at WCI and Director of the Student Life council leading the fundraising efforts, explains these charities were chosen for the importance of the work they do and that they “provide support for people just like our students.”

Holidays are for Helping is a longstanding tradition at WCI, going back more than 30 years. Fish explains it’s important to keep the tradition alive as it encourages students to think of others during the holidays, rather than focusing on materialistic things. “It’s about giving back to the community and sharing in that time of need,” she says.

Hands counting money

Students at WCI tally up their donations.

Jennifer Hutton, CEO of Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, explains initiatives like Holidays Are For Helping made it possible for them to provide safe shelter for almost 300 women and 200 children last year. “With support from our community, we can continue offering these essential services to women and children who need it,” says Hutton.

Car loaded with toys

Megan Fish, a Grade 12 student at WCI, loads up all the toys collected for Toys for Tots.

Homeroom activities, including a door decorating contest, toy drive, charity drive and more, helped to get every student in on the action. This year’s effort brought in a total of $7250 in goods, which includes $570 in cash donated for the Toys for Tots drive. Helping to motivate them is the fact that the homeroom that collects the most donations will be rewarded with a freshly cooked breakfast on behalf of the foods classes at WCI.

Kerri Jilesen, a teacher at WCI and staff coordinator for the Holidays are for Helping initiative, was blown away by the effort put forward by the students. “They’re always thinking about how to give back,” Jilesen says. “To work with these kids is awesome. I can’t ask for a better job.”

We are counting down 12 days of giving where we feature some of the wonderful acts of kindness our staff and students are modelling during the holiday season.

You can check out all of the great acts of giving in our schools (there’s more than just 12) by following us on TwitterInstagram or Facebook.