The Saving Grace Animal Society is among three local charities who will benefit from money raised by St. Martin de Porres School students in Red Deer. (Black Press file photo).

The Saving Grace Animal Society is among three local charities who will benefit from money raised by St. Martin de Porres School students in Red Deer. (Black Press file photo).

Red Deer students raise money for central Alberta charities

Lesson in philanthropy benefits three local charities

An online art auction held by students of St. Martin de Porres School surpassed expectations to raise more than $1,500 for charity.

Three Grade 5 classrooms from the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division collected donations for three local charities, as part of their Youth in Philanthropy Program. The Canadian Cancer Society, the Child Advocacy Centre and the Saving Grace Animal Society benefitted.

St. Martin de Porres School was taking part in the program offered by the Red Deer and District Community Foundation, which gives students $500 to learn about how to give out grants to fill community needs.

“The Youth in Philanthropy Program teaches our youth about… how and where they can create impact,” said Erin Peden, executive director of the Red Deer & District Community Foundation.

Social needs are discussed and students determine their areas of focus. Peden said this year’s Grade 5 students decided they wanted to give more funds to the three charities, so they managed to raise $1,575 (on top of the original $500) through an online art auction.

In response to students’ efforts, Tourism Red Deer and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce also contributed additional dollars towards the three charities, raising the donated total to more than $5,000.

“Giving feels good, and we are very excited to see the level of enthusiasm that comes from these students,” Peden said. “We are thrilled local agencies are joining us as we teach the leaders of tomorrow that philanthropy is contagious.”

St. Martin de Porres principal Dorice de Champlain said she’s proud of the 63 students who participated. “In a year that has been trying for everyone, it is overwhelming to know that our school families and community were able to open their hearts (and their wallets) and pour out their generosity in this amazing endeavor.”

De Champlain hopes “the spirit of helping others” will be something the students carry with them throughout life.

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