Horowhenua College

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Back to school to make Christmas gifts

Post Date: 19 Dec 17       Category

Article courtesy of Sadie Beckman, Reporter, Horowhenua Chronicle, Wednesday 13 December

On the first day of their Christmas holidays, a Year 10 Social Studies class from Horowhenua College was back at school ready to help others in the community.  The students are planning to bring festive cheer to local children from families living below the poverty line who may otherwise be facing a meagre Christmas.

The class is participating in a social action project, fundraising to buy and collect gifts and items to fill shoeboxes, which would then be donated to children in need.  More than 70 gift-wrapped boxes were being filled by the students with items such as toys, books, colouring and craft supplies, toiletries, treats and a toothbrush, as part of the Horowhenua Strengthening Families Network Fill a Shoebox appeal.  The class raised $825 in donations to put towards the appeal, and delivered talks to other classes at the college about the project.

Principal, Grant Congdon, said he was extremely proud of the achievements the class had made.  "The opportunity to look beyond their own circumstances and do something to help improve the lives of others is something I'm really proud of," he said.  "We're finding that when students are becoming aware of the plight of people in our community, they are wanting to put their hand up and help".

Teacher and Social Science Faculty Head, Kathy Grey said the class was given a talk by Horowhenua Strengthening Families Network spokesperson Therese Apatu and several other speakers, which inspired them to join the project.  "Service is as important as sports, arts and other activities," she said.

Class member Sophie Taylor, 14, said the realisation of how many people in the local community were living in poverty really hit home when they were given some statistics for how many shoeboes could be needed.  "I didn't realise the problem was that large," she said.  "It's actually a big problem in our community".  Brianna Chow, 14, said she wanted to help the community around her.  "We've been given the privilege to have these luxuries, and I wanted to make sure other kids got them too," she said.  Isaac Bishop, 14, said poverty was often hidden.  "The fact is, you can't know who is being affected, and so it could be anyone in your class, or in the groups you go to," he said.  "Because we have so much, we aren't impoverished and can give.  It's deeply satisfying that we might be able to improve a child's life".

Ms Apatu said that over the past three years the wider appeal had received contributions from local organisations such as Horowhenua District Council, Child Youth and Family and Levin Police.  "In 2016, we delivered presents to over 500 deserving families across the Horowhenua district, thanks to the awesome support and generosity of local businesses, organisations and members of the community,"she said.  "The boxes are filled with awesome things that weill make our kids smile, things they wouldn't usually receive"

The boxes will be collated a the Levin Memorial Hall early next week for distribution.