Spearheaded by the school’s ME to WE club, Langley Secondary students are delivering Christmas to three struggling families this December.
“We raise money through the school, doing different bake sales and coin collections,” explained AVID, English, and Social Justice teacher Meagan Wood. “Then we go out and buy different things for the families, and we get to wrap them and send them (to the families).
The club, primarily made up of LSS students in Grades 10 to 12, identify families in need and how each family is comprised.
“We kind of know their ages, their genders, and how many siblings are in the home, and if it’s a single-parent home, so we can do something for the parents, too,” Wood said.
Giving families in need extra support at Christmastime has become a tradition at LSS.
“We do it each year, but this year is our first time taking it over as the ME to WE club, officially,” Wood said. “It’s new to us.”
As of Nov. 29, the school community had raised nearly $600 for the families, with the campaign still in its early stages.
“In previous years we’ve raised a couple thousand dollars and have been able to bring in more families (to help) after the fact,” noted LSS teacher Kendall Sewell, another ME to WE leader.
The families being helped usually include students from LSS and its feeder elementary and middle schools.
“It’s always someone within our school community,” Sewell said.
Anonymity is key and the students, “out of the goodness of their hearts, are able to take it and run with it,” Sewell said.
Through working and interacting with the students in the club, Wood has realized just how giving and selfless the teens can be.
“You see how much kids really do want to give back,” Wood said. “I think they are more aware and empathetic to issues in their community than we often give them credit for. Sometimes they don’t know how to empower (themselves) and take action.”
Sewell added, “This is a platform and they just need a little bit of framework and a little bit of structure.”
With this in mind, Wood said fundraising for families has been student-led, with the teachers taking the role of facilitators.
“They make it happen,” Wood said.
For example, on Nov. 29, a student was in the process of writing an email to the Langley School District office to see if district staff would be willing to get behind LSS’s efforts of creating hampers for the families.
“They’re the ones composing the emails, they’re the ones doing the legwork, and they’re the ones who contacted our family of schools, asking for names,” Sewell said.
“They know there’s a good cause and they want to go after it. That’s what’s really cool about working with all these kids, is, they are passionate about making a difference in even the smallest way,” Wood noted.
The LSS students who are part of the club are enthusiastic about the cause.
Grade 12 student Liisa Hazell says she has a lot of empathy towards the world and its problems. “I really just want to make a difference. I don’t want to be one of those people who believes that one person doesn’t really make a difference. It only starts with one person and this is an opportunity for me to be more confident and take on a leadership role.”
Reaching out to families in need and helping them enjoy the season is also important to Grade 10 student Sarah Blessing.
“Everyone deserves a Christmas,” she said.