(From left) Julianna MacDonald, Grade 5 and Maksym Slobodian, Grade 4 student at Fairview Elementary School hold up candygrams. The money raised through selling candygrams will be donated to Wounded Warriors of Canada for the holiday season. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

(From left) Julianna MacDonald, Grade 5 and Maksym Slobodian, Grade 4 student at Fairview Elementary School hold up candygrams. The money raised through selling candygrams will be donated to Wounded Warriors of Canada for the holiday season. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Red Deer school students support veterans mental health during Christmas

Red Deer school students support veterans mental health during Christmas

Mental wellness is rated high at an elementary school in Red Deer, and this Christmas, students are supporting a charity that supports mental health of veterans.

About 21 Grade 4 and 5 students have been selling candygrams this holiday season at Fairview Elementary School.

Students conduct Christmas service projects every year and this year they’ve chosen to donate to Wounded Warriors of Canada – an organization that supports the mental health needs of injured veterans, first responders and their families.

School principal Kim Walker explained students are given the choice of three charities, encouraging “giving back” conversations in a classroom setting. Students then pick a charity of their choice.

The peacekeeping conversations have been ongoing at the school, starting earlier in the school year, for Remembrance Day. In November, students sent letters to Canadian soldiers in Lebanon, letting them know, they’re thinking about those who serve the country.

Helping the veterans and first responders is an important service project for the school, that has 101 students whose first language is not English, out of the 222 student population.

One such Grade 4 student is Maksym Slobodian, from Ukraine, who said the “project is a good thing.”

“It makes them happier,” he said.

Julianna MacDonald, a Grade 5 student, said the project gives money to people who can use it in a good way.

The newcomer students often experience war and violence in their home countries before coming to Canada, Walker said.

“If you come to our (school) assembly you will see 49 home languages,” Walker said.

“When (newcomer) children arrive, they are just learning English, and within a couple years you will hear their narrative and they’ll share what they’ve experienced across the world.”

The project teaches students empathy and why service is important. It also shows them that not everyone is home with their families during Christmas, the principal said.

“It shows them Christmas is a great time to think about others, who are away from their families and that circumstances around the world are different.”

Mental health and wellness is rated high within the Red Deer Public School division, and students are provided with listening ears, so they can speak frankly about what they feel, for example, when they feel angry.

And the project helps them see everyone in the world experiences mental health challenges, and how students can make a difference for those who are experiencing these challenges during the holiday season.

“It’s to honour those individuals who have gone on peacekeeping journeys across the world and so what happens quite often when they come home is they have PTSD and other mental health challenges,” Walker said.

Christmas projects at the school see about $200 to $400 raised, but what students learn in the process becomes a life lesson, the principal explained.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Most Read