Monday, April 24, 2017

What would you do for a friend? Acquaintance? Stranger?

No doubt about it - I am truly blessed.
This week has been full of activity and as I flipped through the photographic evidence from these seven days, I realize that so much of it would not be possible without the generous offering of time, talent, and treasure by many individuals.

What would you do for a friend? Ask Moyah Walker.

Moyah Walker is an amazing teacher-librarian from Burrows Hall Jr. P.S. and I've only known her for a few years, but I'm grateful for that time. When we talk, the creative juices get flowing and things happen. I chatted with her back in February about hosting one of our local teacher-librarian meetings at her school and our conversation naturally strayed to what we were doing with our students in our libraries. It turns out that Moyah was also doing some inquiry into clothing. We said that we should somehow get together to share the different experiences and strategies we were using - and Moyah made it happen. She actually arranged for a supply teacher at her regular school so that she could come to my school on Friday, April 21, and meet my students, share her students' mood boards, and teach some of my students how to tie-dye clothes. I was awed, both by her students' work as well as her abilities. This lady even brought in a brand new tie-dyeing kit she purchased herself and gave it to us to keep! The great thing is this cross-school collaboration will continue - when Agnes Macphail P.S. has its Upcycle Fashion Show, representatives from Burrows Hall Jr. P.S. will be there too!

Preparing to tie-dye by soaking clothes in a special mixture

Showing students how to colour their clothing
What would you do for an acquaintance? Ask Lance from Value Village

I've already written about how wonderful the store managers at various Value Village stores have been to the students at our school. Lance, who runs the Markham location, decided to take it a step further. He contacted me about the possibility of coming to our school to run an Earth Day eco-activity with our kindergarten students. Bringing the experience to our youngest learners made coordinating this so much easier. The plan = have kindergarten students reuse old shirts from the store and transform them with fabric spray paint and pre-made stencils into Earth Day shirts, for free! Lance worked with our kindergarten and administration team to modify the slogan, so that it'd be appropriate for little kids. He and Jordan showed up to my school on April 20 with two huge boxes of free shirts for the children to select and decorate, and supplies like fabric paint, colouring books, and coupons for free books or toys from the store! When we ran out of paint and had to dip into my stock, Lance came back the very next day with six fresh, new cans of replacement paint! We were worried about how this would work, but it was a success! The first group had two stencils, four adults, 28 kids and it took 90 minutes to complete. The second group had five stencils, ten adults, 43 kids and it only took 45 minutes to complete! The kids proudly wore their creations on Earth Day and Lance has a special seat saved for him at that upcoming student fashion show!

Lance and Jordan with our second group behind their Ts!

What would you do for a stranger? Ask Canadian Blood Services.

I don't like needles. In fact, I have to sing out loud when I get them so I don't focus on the pricking feeling. I don't know exactly what led me to take this step - maybe it was hearing the appeals on the radio for donations, or maybe Lent/Easter had me feeling like I needed to contribute on a deeper level to humanity, but on Monday, April 17, I gave blood to Canadian Blood Services. I booked my appointment ahead of time so I wouldn't chicken out. I was astonished by the large number of people who came to give something from their own bodies; they came from all walks of life, from different cultures and creeds, from young university students to seniors. I was told it usually takes an hour to go through the questionnaire, interview, and blood donation but there were so many people in line to give that it took two hours to complete. The volunteers and nurses were all very kind and attentive. I asked a couple of them (and to my dear friend Lisa Noble, who I discovered after my tweet about the experience was a long-time donor with over 50 offerings under her belt) how they got involved and why they gave their time and their blood. One started with her Girl Guide troop. Lisa said her former employer encouraged people to go. Whatever the reason, each donation saves lives (see or for more information). I hope this won't be just a one-time event for me and that I can make a difference. With various locations around so that it's convenient to arrange and travel, I suspect it will at least become a yearly habit. I like their slogan, because it suits them and all the people that helped me this week: "it's in you to give".

Post-donation arm (no needle pictures to show here!)

I received a pin commemorating my first give!

1 comment:

  1. I'm honoured to be part of this round up of gratefulness. You are a gift to so many of us, Diana, and I'm always amazed at your willingness to give, and to share what you learn. It's a rare combination.