After being inspired at WE Day in September, students in grade 7 and 8 at St. Raphael Elementary School decided that they wanted to continue the discussion, and action towards social justice initiatives. The “We Team”, comprised of highly motivated, creative and passionate students work together throughout the year to help create initiatives that support solidarity, inclusion, and the empathy in the school environment. Some of the events they’ve helped to organize include a Valentine’s day dance for the We are Love campaign, and most recently the “Soles for Souls” shoe drive.
Soles4Souls is a not for profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of gently used shoes. Students from Kindergarten to grade 8 were encouraged to clean out their closets and donate their gently used, or new shoes for other students in Haiti. With a populatio
n of just under 300 students, the “WE Team” set a goal of collecting 250 shoes. At the end of the three week campaign, over 1000 shoes were collected- that’s 4 times our school goal! Intermediate students learned earlier in the year about the island of Haiti, and the natural disasters that often plague that region. They were able to make connections as to why a single pair of shoes could provide so much opportunities for students their age in that county. “It’s about giving them a hand up, and not a hand out. I like being part of the WE team, and the Soles4Souls campaign because it really shows how our school community can come together to help those in need”, noted Leia Almdal, a grade 8 student.
Classes sorted the shoes by size and worked together to determine the ratio of the number of shoes collected with the number of students in their class. Who knew math could be so much fun! All shoes were dropped off to BioPed in Burlington. We would like to thank all of the students, and families at St. Raphael for their continued generosity, and for donating all of those shoes! They will go a long way to help children in Haiti!