MOUNT FOREST – For the past 21 years, the Grade 12 Business Leadership Class at Wellington Heights Secondary School here has championed the school’s Warm Winter Wishes charity initiative for local students, and their families, who are in need.
This has been achieved through school events and fundraisers, awareness campaigns, and corporate donations.
Retired WHSS business teacher Barb Cowen came up with the idea for the first Warm Winter Wishes campaign and over the years raised tens of thousands of dollars with her students through this “impactful experiential learning opportunity,” school officials state in a press release.
In the past, personalized holiday wish lists were gathered and individualized shopping occurred by WHSS staff members at local retailers to ensure every needy child in the local community had an enjoyable holiday celebration.
Given the stress and pressure of the holiday season, and this colossal undertaking of accommodating individualized wish lists, the school opted to scale down the initiative after Cowen’s retirement.
A school-wide committee was formed that included representation from the Business Leadership class, student council, athletic council, staff association, and administration.
These groups shared some of the workload of the various initiatives, and collaboratively decided on the distribution of funds and food to all local elementary schools and food banks respectively.
Instead of personalized gifts, schools provide gift cards to needy students from local businesses, which ensures that the money raised stays within the community and that students have choice on the gifts and food they purchase.
Money will also be disbursed at various times throughout the year and not just during the holiday season, “as we acknowledge that our students are also in need of food and clothing throughout the school year and summer months,” the release states.
Local businesses, community organizations, and municipal government have all been very supportive of the Warm Winter Wishes initiative over the years and Wellington Heights officials state the school is grateful for the ongoing financial and moral support.
The school also encourages students’ families to connect with the other local organizations that can offer outstanding assistance and support, such as the Christmas Bureau and the local food banks.
Anyone interested in making a donation to this year’s Warm Winter Wishes campaign can do so by clicking on the Warm Winter Wishes tab on the school website: www.ugdsb.ca/whss.
Prospective donors can also reach out to principal Brent Bloch by phone at 519-323-3430 ext. 223, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.