Tag Archives: community service

Making World Connections Through Service Learning

With Hank

This past week, Ridley was honoured to welcome Marie Da Silva, the founder of The Jacaranda School in Malawi, Africa and 2008 CNN Hero, to campus to share her mission and inspiring story. This visit marked the beginning of what we hope will be a strong relationship between our schools.

The Story of Jacaranda School

After losing fourteen family members to HIV, Marie Da Silva felt compelled to devote her life to improving conditions for orphans in Malawi; many who are impacted by the AIDS epidemic and poverty. In Marie’s eyes, the key to making a difference was to offer these children an education, nutrition, home support and proper health care.

In order to set her philanthropic plan in motion, Marie first needed a source of funding. To finance the early Jacaranda School – which was started out of her childhood home – Marie took post as a nanny in Los Angeles, California. For years, she sent the majority of her wages back to Malawi and little by little brought her passion to realization. After her mother agreed to allow Marie to use her home as a basic school house, Marie set to work seeking support, student teachers and materials.

Over the years since the Jacaranda School was simply a hope, it has developed into a place where orphans and young students come to realize a better life.  The developing, multi-building school now has more than 400 students enrolled. These young boys and girls (50/50 male and female population) often walk more than an hour to attend school each day.

Marie has worked selflessly to ensure that basic needs are met so that students, can focus on learning, reach post-secondary studies and break free from constraints. She has incorporated a fully staffed heath clinic where HIV medicines are dispensed, provides two nutritious meals of porridge daily, has four libraries, offers micro-loans to mothers so they may earn for their families, and also provides a nurturing safe-haven where children are distinctively supported. Most amazingly it only costs roughly $20 CDN per month to educated a student, provide him or her with nutrition and HIV medications.

A Ridley Connection

After being named a CNN Hero in 2008, Marie received well-earned recognition for her work in her home country. Marie and the Jacaranda School is now even receiving the support of global figures, such as Madonna.  Marie’s selfless dedication caught the attention of Mr. Rob Burke. Mr. Burke, Ridley teacher and CAS coordinator, has known Marie for seven years and has made 12 trips to Malawi. While at the Shanghai American School, Mr. Burke was actively involved with volunteering and organizing support for the Jacaranda School. He distinctly recalls a friend of his describing Marie as, “a woman with inner steel, wrapped in silk, with a heart three sizes too big,” with which he wholeheartedly agrees.

Marie expressed that she thoroughly enjoyed meeting students and staff at Ridley College and appreciated the warmth and kindness shown to her while she was here. The mutual feeling of gratitude and respect was obvious.

Girls doing their PYP Project on Marie Grade 3

“Meeting Marie Da Silva and being involved with The Jacaranda School has changed the course of my life and possibly for more than 250 students that have experienced the magic of Jacaranda.” – Mr. Rob Burke

Mr. Burke’s dedication to The Jacaranda School and Foundation was recently acknowledged, as he was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. This prestigious award, which he will be presented by the Governor General of Canada, is given to an individual who has significantly contributed to a local or global community.  We hope Ridleians will congratulate Mr. Burke and be motivated by his example.

March Break Service-Learning Trip

Upper School students will have an opportunity to make a difference and contribute when Ridley makes its inaugural visit to The Jacaranda School over March break. This service-learning trip will take place March 9th–25th, 2017.  Registrants will have an opportunity to experience, first-hand, how Marie’s lifelong mission has improved the lives of so many in her home country. If students are interested in joining this trip, please contact Mr. Rob Burke before November 15th at rob_burke@ridleycollege.com.  A limited number of spots are available.

If you would like to make a donation to The Jacaranda Foundation, please visit http://www.jacarandafoundation.org/.

 

 

 

 

Ridley Runs For Terry Fox

This Sunday students and faculty participated in the annual Terry Fox run in St. Catharines.  It was a beautiful sunny day to run or walk or rollerblade 5KM or 10KM. Approximately 200 students participated.  The money raised continues to be tallied and will be released shortly.

Ridley College Students participating in Terry Fox Run

The Terry Fox run has been a Canadian tradition for the past thirty years and $55o million dollars has been raised for cancer research during that time. The run is named for Terry Fox, who after having his right leg amputated because of cancer at age 18 began a marathon of hope.  Fox ran 5,373 kilometres in 143 days – running the equivalent of a marathon each day, unfortunately his cancer returned and he was unable to continue his journey. Three months after Fox died the first Terry Fox run was held and others have taken up his mission to one day end cancer.

Director of Athletics Mr. Jay Tredway
Ms. Lech - Assistant Head of Student Affairs with her dogs

To read more about Ridley’s participation in the Terry Fox run in the Niagara This Week, click here.

Ridley Students Consumed in Service

The holiday season is upon us and the tradition of service is well underway at Ridley.  Students and staff have been busy finishing their Christmas giving projects before they leave the campus to return home for the holidays.
Arthur Bishop East is raising funds for “Wells of Hope”. So far they have raised approximately $200 selling snacks at the intermission of “The Crucible,” and $500 at the Christmas Market.

The boys of Arthur Bishop West were raising money by providing $5 haircuts at the Christmas Market.  The funds raised are going to Mainstream – an organization that provides a range of services to community members with developmental challenges.

Burgoyne House focused on their mascot, the bear, this year for their charity drive.  Teddy bears of all sorts – for infants, toddlers and older children- will be given to children at the St. Catharines General Hospital.

The Dean’s House charity is the “Gift of Reading,” an organization that raises funds to buy books for less fortunate children and families. At the Christmas Market, they held a raffle and raised $200.

Gooderham West raised $136 raffling off 3 gingerbread houses at the Christmas Market.  Instead of buying secret Santa gifts this year, each girl donated $10, which has been given to Community Care to buy Christmas Dinner for families in need.  In total the girls’ raised $566.00 for Community Care.
Gooderham East filled 90 shoeboxes with toiletries, school supplies and toys for “Operation Christmas Child”. These boxes will make their way to deserving children all over the world.
Leonard House partnered with Mandeville in collecting food for Community Care during “Halloween for Hunger” and sending representatives to “Me to We” in Toronto.

Mandeville and Leonard House collected 1,540 lbs of food for the “Halloween for Hunger” food drive. The girls recently raised just over $600 by having a dress down day and selling handmade beaded bracelets from Africa (donated by a Ridley Family) and Christmas gift bags (donated from a past parent) at the Christmas Market.

Merritt South raised $900 for Dog Guides Canada, primarily from the John Gardhouse Comedy Night sponsored by the house.

Merritt North’s House Charity is Community Care. Every year the MNo boys set up and serve food provided by the House at an “Out of the Cold” dinner downtown for 170 guests. This year, they are hosting the dinner on Friday, January 7th at 53 Church Street. The boys also sell toques to support the national “Raise the Roof” campaign sponsored by Community Care which benefits homeless youth. The annual MNo “Toque Thursday” grub day at Ridley is scheduled for February 3rd, 2011.

Day students at Lower School collected non-perishable food for Community Care this past month and delivered it during their recent radio performance supporting this need.

The Advancement Office gave a donation to the United Way of St. Catharines and the Business Office donated to Community Care in lieu of their annual Secret Santa gift exchange.

The Memorial Chapel through the recent Nine Lessons and Carol service and other events, as well as donations by parents, raised $7,249 for the Missionaries of the Poor in Jamaica and collected food for the local Community Care organization.

The Christmas spirit is alive and well at Ridley College!

Ambulance Sirens on Ridley College Campus – Cause for a Celebration!

Did you hear the ambulance sirens on campus this afternoon? Well, thankfully the ambulances were not here for an emergency – they were on campus to pick up shoeboxes full of toys and school supplies for children in need in Central America & the Caribbean, South America and West Africa.

The Gooderham East elves were at it again this year collecting shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. The girls’ managed to collect 80 boxes – that’s more than double the amount they brought in last year! Not to mention the money they raised from today’s grub day that will help with the postage costs for sending the boxes. This is the third year the house has supported this charity. For the second year in a row Foday Kpanabom, a former recipient of a gift box helped Niagara EMS with the pick up. Kpanabom’s family was displaced during the civil war in Sierra Leone and were unable to take a lot of personal items from place to place, so the gift was very special to him. He now lives in Niagara. Six girls from six different countries – Luisa K. from Germany, Nadia E. from Canada, Anna G. from Russia, Miram S. from Pakistan, Alexis N. from Mexico, and Ana H. from Venezuela spearheaded the collection this year. Congratulations ladies and thanks to the Ridley community for supporting this worthy cause and making a Christmas wish come true for children in need! Watch the video below if you missed the action: