An idea created by some Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary (SCS) students managed to impress a provincial program.
Denton's Make Your Mark is a community-based leadership development program through United Way that encourages students to learn more about poverty, the role of non-profits, and how they can make a difference. Every year, the program awards funding to a handful of projects from schools in Alberta.
This year, three projects were picked to get the grant. One of them was a project created by six SCS girls.
Jazmin Williams explained they'd been learning about homelessness in one of their classes, and they wanted to start looking deeper into the mental health aspects of that. The girls came up with the idea to create journals and fidgets for houseless people in Edmonton.
"It took a few classes to figure out what we wanted to do, who we wanted to focus on. I think we wanted to try and address as many demographics of people within those communities, so we thought mental health is something that affects everyone, especially during the pandemic. We just came up with a bunch of ideas that could just get people to talk about," said Ivy Gu.
This idea caught the eye of Make Your Mark, and the school was given $1,000 to help it along.
"I think we were all pretty surprised. We didn't realize that they acknowledged stuff like what we were doing. I think we were grateful for it as well," Emily Anderson added.
The students started working on the project in November. Malaya Thiessen explained the money was used to create the journals and fidget toys.
By teaming up with We Care through the Alliance Church, the girls handed out their gifts at the end of January. Alyvia Hornbarcher said it was cool to get to see the reactions to the journals and how thankful some people were.
"It felt really good to know that I had an impact on the community and people we wouldn't normally interact with, be able to help them. It was really, really cool," Sam Palichuk concluded.
The other schools that got funding were Roberta McAdams School and Spruce Avenue School in Edmonton.