It’s a Tuesday lunchtime at Spencer middle school in Langford and students buzz around a group of tables in the central courcourse.
What’s causing these teens to line up three and four deep? It’s the Winter Wonderland market, where people are invited to pick up delicious homemade goodies to snack on, or find Christmas gifts, along with such items as handmade tree ornaments, jewelry and candy-filled mugs.
The first day of the sale brought in around $400 for clean water related projects in Haiti, according to Grade 8 teacher Jennifer Nixon, who has lost her voice and did her best to guide the youth in setting up just minutes before.
As lunchtime moves along, a trio of students step aside briefly to talk about the sale.
“It’s really fun to be here and raising money for a good cause,” said Grade 8 student Cleopatra Tringham. “We’re selling a lot of ornaments and candy bags and chocolates, and essentially anything really neat that looks homemade.” Students were pre-warned about the market, billed as a way to find “gifts for your friends and family,” she said.
Fellow Grade 8 Madison Dubray contributed to the stock by putting together the custom hot chocolate mugs, decorating them with a candy cane and filling them with candies. Asked about the cause the proceeds of the sale would benefit, she said it is an important one.
“There’s so many people around the world that need food, water and the basic needs,” she said. “I think raising money will be able to help them meet those basic needs. Everyone should have access to those things.”
Grade 6 student Emily Hanna, one of the younger organizers in the group, agreed.
“It’s really cool to make a difference in the world,” she said.
Jon Carr, aboriginal education teacher at Spencer, oversaw the students on this project along with Nixon. The teens came up with all the ideas for the sale and chose what items to sell, he said. Not only did they enjoy those kinds of freedoms, he added, they exercised a spirit of giving through the whole project.
“Everyone wants to be part of making a difference, locally and globally,” he said. “I think the sense of need right now is pretty high in the world, and students know that and feel that and this is an outlet for them to make a difference.”
He hoped that learning about altruism at this age will inspire them to make a difference as they move forward in their lives. “It’s nice to see the kids in a giving mood. It’s really nice for them to be able to give back to community and to put their energy into a really positive space.”