The children at St Joseph’s Preparatory School, Gravesend are already very aware of those less fortunate than themselves. When we do our planned charitable giving each year, we always research the charities we support or better still have a visitor from that charity to explain how our donations will help those communities.
We always try to serve our local community, a national charity and also reach out to the global community. For example, at harvest time we give the harvest produce to The Ellenor Lion’s Hospice and TheHouse of Mercy founded by our own Sisters of Mercy to help the homeless in Gravesend whilst nationally, we raised funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Internationally, we were able to buy school starter packs for children; some chirpy chickens, a chicken coop, a goat that gives and a donkey that delivers and a greenhouse for the farming communities in third world countries supported by Cafod and during Lent the school House Captains organise fund-raising activities to support children less fortunate than themselves; again locally, this year we supported little ‘Ruby’, The Sisters of Charity’s new venture to home job-seekers for six months; the national charity Missio and internationally ‘Mary’s Meals; totalling £1257.38p; which represents our charitable fund-raising for the year.
Evidently, our children and parents understand it is a vital part of St Joseph’s Mission and Vision to be aware of and to support those less fortunate than ourselves.
Imagine when we heard over the weekend of the earthquake disaster in Nepal; how could we appeal to our parents so soon after their recent generosity?!
First thing Monday morning, Grace Osborn accompanied by two of her classmates from Year 4 – EllaD’Cruz and Elina Burrha (see photograph) came to my office door looking very worried ~ Grace was very concerned by what she had heard and seen on the television news at the weekend, reporting on the devastation and loss of life caused by the earthquake in Nepal.
She continued, “we wondered if we could do some sort of fund-raising to help.” I asked them to give some thought to what they might do and to come back to me with their ideas before our lunch-time staff meeting. They came back with so many ideas ~
After much discussion, we all agreed their sponsored walk/run would be a great idea as everyone in the school could be involved. Our school motto is ‘res non verba’ (action not words). We decided to have a ‘res non verba’ – (action not words) assembly on Thursday morning – on the school field. Mrs Howell (PE) immediately ‘set to’ marking out a ‘measured mile’ and the girls devised a sponsor form. The whole school community became involved: time-keepers, markers, participators, ice-cream sellers (sold at the end of the event to raise yet more money!!) and of course participators!
Well, the sun shone! It was a wonderful sight to see the whole school: over 160 children aged between 3 and 11 years running, jogging, walking and toddling round the course, through the willow trees onto the field disappearing into the horizon, the older ones encouraging the little ones to “keep going!”
Then the sponsor money needed to come in – it looked like one class alone had raised nearly £400 ‘on paper’ – but would all that was promised come in? …
… and more! By day one, it was clear we were going to exceed our target of £500! … £900, £1200 and more! At the time of going to press, we have already reached a total of £2,300 from our small little school; more importantly our children are really concerned about the people in Nepal both those who have lost loved ones and the continuing difficulties of the survivors: lack of shelter, food etc.
The Gurdwara in Gravesend have put out an appeal for SMA milk, hand gel, hand sanitizer, water purification tablets and wet wipes we intended to respond to this appeal and work in partnership with our Sikh Community (many families also members of our school community) by using the first £500 raised to donate these items before sending on the balance of £2,500+ to the charity: Disasters Emergency Committee (Earthquake in Nepal).
As a footnote to share with you: one of our Reception Class children refused to go swimming in school, this week – usually very happy to get in the water. When her teacher asked her why she would not get in the water – she answered “… because there’ been an earthquake in the pool (in ‘n’ pool – Nepal)!!
Carola Timney (Headmistress)