Be the Change Canyon Lister Environmental Club (Photo submitted)

Be the Change

The Canyon Lister Elementary ‘Be the Change’ students hosted a community spaghetti dinner at the Rotacrest Hall on March 8, 2018.

The Canyon Lister Elementary ‘Be the Change’ students hosted a community spaghetti dinner at the Rotacrest Hall on March 8, 2018. This group of Grade 3-7 students are active volunteers that believe they can and will make a positive difference in the world. Their focus this year is ‘Education’. Their international goal is to support the building of a school in Ethiopia. The spaghetti dinner was a fundraiser towards their overall goal of $2000. The money will be donated, through Free the Children – We Day, to build a community school, providing children the opportunity to have an education and all the future possibilities it may offer.

The fundraising dinner was initially a students’ idea and Be the Change students answered a resounding, “Yes!”. Hands were raised, everyone ready to put their names on the volunteer list! The spaghetti dinner, that memorable evening, evolved into a true community event! Students volunteered in the kitchen, served, cleaned, set up tables, made posters, manned tables they were all in! Parents helped to cook and some even made personalized aprons for our students. School staff were literally up to their elbows in spaghetti. We planned for about 130-140 guests. We believe we had over 200! In attendance were parents, families, Canyon and Lister community members, previous staff, current staff, our wonderful Canyon Lister Firefighters (in uniform) their families and the list goes on. All of a sudden, we needed more tables, chairs and food! Everyone pitched in and our food line up of hungry patrons began to grow and grow! Together, as a community, we raised over $500 towards building a school in a country that still struggles to have education available to each and every child.

In accordance to the theme of ‘education’, our students spoke the following words at the dinner:

• “We believe that all children have the right to go to school. It shouldn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl. It shouldn’t matter what race or religion you are. It shouldn’t matter where you live. Education is something that all children have a right to access! We are so lucky to live in a country where we are all encouraged to go to school.”

• Did you know that education provides children the skills and tools to empower themselves and their communities? Sadly, 58 million primary school aged children are currently not in school worldwide. There are many barriers children face preventing them from getting to school each day. Some have no clean water to drink. Some have to walk for hours to get even dirty water for their family to use each day. This means no time to go to school. Some children face war or some are not allowed to go to school just because they are a girl. Children need an education to get out of poverty, to take care of themselves and their families, to have a voice, to live in peace.

• Education should be a right, but, in reality, it is often a gift.

• Did you know that Ethiopia is the oldest, independent country in Africa? It is located in the fertile lands found in the horn of Africa. It has a population of 100 million people. There are over 80 languages spoken in this country; it even has its own alphabet. However, 13% of the children are missing one or both parents. It is the fifth poorest country in the world. Thirty – seven million Ethiopians are poor and are at risk of falling into poverty. Thirty percent of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day. Eighty percent of people live in rural areas. Children that live in rural areas give up school so they can help their families at home. The literacy rate in Ethiopia for males is 57% and 41% for females. Twenty – two percent of children aged 5 – 14 are in situations of child labour. Access to education can and will change this.

• We hope that this fundraiser will pay for some very important bricks. These bricks will be used to build a school for Ethiopian children. Every $50 pays for one brick. Our $2000 will pay for 40 bricks. It might not seem like much, but it is a start and will be the foundation for a school one day. Thank you for coming together as a community and supporting our education goal.

• Thank you to Save On Foods, Independent Grocers, our own Superintendent, Dr. Perkins and the Beebe family for their generous donations. Thank you to the many student, parent and staff volunteers that made this night possible.

This night was possible because children were given a voice. Their families, school and community made this a ‘dream come true’. Thank you everyone and we hope you all had a wonderful dinner!

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