Red Deer mom and daughter make back to school gift bags for teachers

Jayda Monilaws has a big heart and knew she wanted to help.

The 12-year-old, who in the past has raised funds for the Central Alberta Humane Society by selling cupcakes, saw another chance to lend a hand this summer.

With teachers facing stress due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and kids returning to classrooms next month, Jayda wanted to show them some support.

With help from her mom, Nicki, Jayda started creating gift baskets for teachers, including little, but important items such as hand sanitizer, Lysol cleaners, Lysol wipes, gum, candy and chocolate, tea or wine, hand lotion and Advil.

“Jayda has the hugest heart … she is always wanting to do things for others and spread joy in our community,” Nicki said.

“It started with her wanting to get her teacher a gift for back to school. She’s a caring, compassionate teacher who went out of her way last year, and even more so during the home learning process.”

Nicki said she realized how tough home learning had been on some parents and thought that showing teachers how much they matter, especially given the pandemic, would be a great way to help.

“We know so many teachers who pay for lots of supplies out of their own pockets … they truly care for the kids they are teaching; and it’s more than just a career,” Nicki said.

“While we have only done nine packs so far – we have plans of doing more. It was a great feeling to hear how the care packs and little cards of inspiration lifted their spirits in a time of such uncertainty.”

When people are going through tough times, even the smallest expression of kindness can go a long way, and Nicki and Jayda hope that more people can show their support for teachers in the coming weeks.

“We hope this inspires others to send an email and let the teachers, EAs and office staff know that we see them and support them,” Nicki said.

“We know they are going through lots right now trying to get ready for back to school and all the hurdles and anxiety that it may bring. It’s truly the little acts of kindness that make a huge difference, in our opinion. If everyone was a little bit kinder, think of what we could accomplish.”

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