Submitted by Kerri Robins
There’s strength in numbers and last year’s Alix-Mac School student council is proof of that.
Working with the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation, the senior high students on the student council raised almost $3,500 for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
Robert Saunders, now a first-year Red Deer College student, spearheaded the decision to support the mental health unit.
“One of my really good friends took advantage of the services at the mental health unit and it really struck close to home for me,” Saunders said.
”It just seemed obvious that we should be supporting our own community.”
The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit helps youth and families cope with mental-health challenges, and promotes healthy mental and physical well-being.
The initiative to help others is a source of pride to Eleanor Henderson, educational assistant at Alix-Mac School.
“I watch my students change and grow into leaders every year,” Henderson said. “They really learn a valuable lesson through charitable work — it gives them an understanding that the challenges people have are not always visible. I think the students realized that youth and peers in our community face challenges that we’d never guess.”
And the students certainly stepped up to the fundraising challenge.
From Halloween to Christmas, and from Easter to June, the teenagers held various events, including a cake auction, where students honed their baking skills and sold their goodies.
From a wreath auction and white elephant sale at Christmas to an Amazing Race in June, the kids were on a roll and the donations poured in.
Include popcorn and ice cream sales at the school during Friday noon hours, along with a school “penny drive,” raising more than$600, and these kids proved it’s easy to watch the dollars pile up.
“Our students are outstanding and our community is remarkable in its support,” Henderson said.
”We ask and the community steps up — I think just seeing the work these kids put in encourages people to give because it shows the kids’ motivation and initiative.”
John Donald, board chair of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation, is proud of the community support students at Alix-Mac have shown.
“This is our next generation of philanthropists and they’ve set the bar high,” Donald said.
“I’m honoured to be part of a community where so many dedicated people work hard at caring for their friends and neighbours.”
For more information on foundation fundraisers, visit www.rdrhfoundation.com.