The Catholic Leadership Council at Jean Vanier Catholic High School in Richmond Hill organized a Syrian Refugee Education Week for its school community this fall. The week-long event helped to raise awareness about the growing refugee crisis overseas, as well as, raised funds for the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Project Hope.
In Northern Africa and the Middle East, civil wars and major economic collapses have contributed to the instability in many countries. Over 3 million people, many of them Syrian, continue to flee from their homes. Some of the refugees seek asylum in Europe, but the trip across the Mediterranean is oftentimes dangerous or even deadly. In light of these current events, and in line with Board initiatives, Jean Vanier students were given the opportunity to learn more about this humanitarian crisis through daily presentations during their lunch in the cafeteria, morning and afternoon announcements, as well as literature provided to their homeroom classes. In addition to the educational aspect of the week, students were also given the opportunity to make a tangible difference through a fundraising effort for the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Project Hope.
A voluntary civvies day, raffle, and bake sale raised almost $3,000 which could help to sponsor refugee families coming to the Greater Toronto Area. This outpouring of generosity for a rather small school population is an incredible testament to the wonderful, selfless community that is alive and well at Jean Vanier Catholic High School.
Parents, staff and students alike, selflessly donated raffle prizes and baked goods, while teachers willingly gave of their prep time to facilitate the bake sale. The school’s functional life skills students were also moved by the initiative, and made trays of freshly baked treats they had prepared with their teachers. As the school’s namesake, Jean Vanier, once stated, “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love,” and that is precisely what the Vanier community has done!!!
YCDSB thanks Jean Vanier’s School Chaplains, Danielle Savo and Adam Caldana, as well as Teacher, Michael German for leading this initiative.