Sunday, February 6, 2011

Global Spirit

The student government at Delta Secondary has made impressive strides in shifting the purpose of "spirit activities" to include a focus on giving back, paying it forward, or simply helping others. During ChristmAssist, the student government teamed with Deltassist to adopt local families that were in need of support during the holidays. The recent World Spirit Week at Delta Secondary is another wonderful example of how DSS students have emerged as globally-minded citizens who are empowered and enthusiastic about their potential to make a difference in the lives of others.

For several years now, DSS teacher, Chris Dobrovolny has lead a club called the IFA, or the International Friendship Association at Delta Secondary. In this time, the IFA has been involved in several humanitarian projects in Central and South America, most recently in the Miraflor Reserve near the northern border of Nicaragua.  The IFA raises funds through various projects including coffee sales and collects donations to support worthwhile projects for the small communities in this area.

The list of projects is impressive. The DSS IFA has provided:

  • numerous scholarships and educational opportunities for street youth in the town of Bluefields
  • learning resources, computers, and scholarships for students in the remote areas of Miraflor, allowing them to study through a solar powered computer program 
  • physical labour such as painting and landscaping 
  • funding for a fresh water well, rain water collection system, and a new septic tank for the Tabitha Home Orphanage

Each spring, Dobrovolny and one or two other DSS teachers pay their own way to lead a small group of students to Nicaragua. It's a life changing experience for the students who learn first hand not only about the challenges of life in the Third World but also about the beauty, the power, and the fragility of the global community.

This year the IFA will build a preschool near the tiny village of Cebollal in the Miraflor Reserve. Working with the local agricultural co-op, the IFA and the DSS community have raised enough money to completely fund the project! Next month, Dobrovolny and teachers, Andrew Boldt, and Sheila Guichon will lead a DSS team of 6 students to Cebollal to assist with the construction. It will be challenging and physical, but rewarding work!

This year, the student government at DSS chose to get involved, engaging the participation of all DSS students through "Jar Wars," a penny drive challenge that ran during World Spirit Week. The cause and the challenge inspired our school community and while the final tally is yet to be determined (imagine counting and rolling 200,000 pennies!!!), it is estimated that "Jar Wars" will raise more than $2500 for the IFA project in Nicaragua.

As is often the case in Ladner, our community also did their part. Add in private donations from individuals and companies like Choices Market, and final tally will top more than $7000 for the project.

The Open Mic concert at week's end featured some of the school's most gifted performers, and raised an additional $400 through donations at the door. It's yet another example of how our community is using its considerable talents to help others. Check out Cameron Phillips' video for a few highlights.

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