Oceanside Elementary School social justice students Samuel Jacobsen and Grace Blackthorne and education assistant Pamela Caldwell with the bikes and helmets for the refugee family’s five children.

Oceanside Elementary students raise money so refugees can have bikes

In two weeks of fundraising, the Parksville school raised almost $1,100

Some Oceanside Elementary students plan to welcome a refugee family to the region with five hand-picked gifts.

The Oceanside Elementary School’s social justice class came up with the idea of a loose-change fundraiser to raise money to purchase bikes for the incoming refugee family’s five children.

Social justice teacher Amber Tanner said in the two weeks of fundraising, the school managed to raise almost $1,100.

“We asked people to look in their couches and behind their cushions, check their coat pockets,” Tanner said, adding that the donations were small such as 50 cents or $2.

Grade 7 student Sara Pickard said in each class, students were bringing in their loose change.

“Every kid would bring whatever they can find, so not a lot of money,” Pickard said. “So we could help support this refugee family who is coming to Qualicum Beach.”

Tanner said this was the first time having a social justice class in the school. She added that she and the students worked together to shape the class.

“I taught them what social justice was and what groups are advocated for under the umbrella of social justice.”

Tanner said their education assistant Pamela Caldwell brought in an article about the Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group hoping to bring a refugee family to the area.

From there, Tanner said members of the sponsorship group came to visit the students and explain what their group was preparing to do.

It was after that, Tanner said that the class started brainstorming ideas on how to help welcome the refugee family.

“They decided a bike and a helmet for each kid would be a nice thing to have as a welcome to Canada gift,” Tanner said, adding that the refugee family’s children are aged five to 12.

On Friday, June 10, Tanner and two social justice students Samuel Jacobsen and Grace Blackthorne went to Canadian Tire and chose the bikes for the children.

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