Horton students helping others

Wendy Elliott
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Over 40 Horton High School students are living what they learned at We Day Atlantic this fall in Halifax.

Grade 11 student Micaela Murphy said the special day only amplified efforts a number of her peers were already making.

She pointed to the Respect for Differences program and Best Friends for Lunch, which builds relationships among the special needs population and other students.

“We hang out, watch movies and play games,” Murphy said.

We Day was an opportunity, she said, to change perspectives and realize how fortunate people are in the third world.

Ava Berry added that she learned ideas can make a difference.

According to Murphy, the day taught her that change takes place through small actions. Esme Campbell added that the example of Canadian activists Craig and Marc Kielburger, who founded the Me to We social enterprise, is about following a dream.

Eight schools in Kings County sent students to We Day. Teacher Renata Verri said a number of educators were able to attend because the school board held a professional development day.

Murphy said the Me to We group at Horton holds a weekly meeting now, as a registered group. Verri added that students were volunteering far earlier.

They held a bake sale, raising $300, and were paid to conduct a water stop at the Valley Harvest Marathon.

“They’ve volunteered many hours to help,” Verri said. Since last May, the group has aided community groups like L’Arche, Special Olympics and the Kings Kikima Grannies.

At Halloween, she said, they collected half a ton of food in one night for the food bank. The group’s global project is Free the Children, where they will focus on health aid.

Students, who generally collect food through the Horton Holiday Hoorah, were also making decorated cookies before Christmas for 75 participants at Open Arms. Grade 9 students baked 150 cookies and Me to We members decorated them.

Now in its ninth year, the Horton Holiday Hoorah is in a friendly competition with Central Kings High School to aid three area food banks.

The Horton hockey team canvassed the community of Port Williams during inclement weather on Dec. 15, collecting over 800 items and $175.

One teacher at Horton even promised his class that, if they collected the most per capita food, he would dress up as an elf for the day.


Big motivation


Musical artists and a host of motivational speakers were at the Halifax Metro Centre Nov. 27 for the first We Day event held in the region. It was organized by the Free the Children network, a charity founded by child rights activists Craig Kielburger and his brother, Marc. We Day started in Toronto in 2007.

Among those taking part were former governor general Michaelle Jean, the Kenyan Boys Choir, human rights advocate Martin Luther King III and Spencer West, a Me to We motivational speaker and Free The Children ambassador who lost his legs at age five and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro on his hands in 2012.

Over the last six years, students involved in the We Act program have raised $37 million for 1,000 charities around the world, volunteered almost 10 million hours of their time and collected four million pounds of food for their local food banks, according to the organization.

We Day took place in 11 cities across North America and the UK.

Weblink www.weday.com/

Organizations: Horton High School, Respect for Differences, Best Friends for Lunch Special Olympics Open Arms Central Kings High School Halifax Metro Centre Kenyan Boys Choir Free The Children

Geographic location: Kings, Port Williams, Toronto Mt. Kilimanjaro North America UK

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