The following is part of a 90th Anniversary series that features Catholic trustees from across Ontario sharing insight on the experience of Catholic education at their boards.
1. What singular experience as a trustee at your CDSB can you share that can serve to illustrate the positive impact of Catholic schools in the community?
Although there are many experiences that I have had in our Catholic schools that reflect their positive impact in the community, one singular experience does stand out for me at this time of year. I started a charity nine years ago called JOY-Full Socks. I collect socks and grooming products for those in need in our community. When the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) heard about the charity, they embraced the call to participate and have been doing so ever since. The students get involved, joyfully filling socks and asking parents to please send more toothpaste! This year, JOY-Full Socks donated over 4,200 pairs of socks to those in need. More than half of the socks collected were donated by the staff, students, and families of our Catholic board. Each year, I am overwhelmed with joy by their generosity and kindness, which has helped many individuals and families in our community who have very little. This simple gift of socks has ignited hope in many who thought no one cared about them.
2. What current Good News story about students/Catholic schools at your CDSB would you like to share?
Christmas time is a beautiful time of year to share Good News stories. The students, staff and families of the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) are fully involved in many events that bring awareness to poverty and help those in need in our community. Just to mention a few initiatives — they have slept in a box in chilly downtown Sault Ste. Marie in November, stuffed a bus with toys, shopped as “Secret Santas” for fellow students, raised funds for “Operation Smile”, visited seniors in long-term care facilities, stocked shelves at a local food bank, and hand-delivered Christmas cards to seniors and family homes in schools’ neighbourhoods. One initiative that has been going on for over 15 years is “Pennies from Heaven”, now called “Heaven Cent”. Our St. Mary’s College high school students raise funds through numerous events and donate the funds to multiple charities in our community. They also involve parishes and the business community in this initiative. To date they have raised approximately 400K. This year alone, Heaven Cent has raised $19,000 and donated to 13 different charities in our community.
Trustee, Huron-Superior Catholic DSB