École Willows elementary kids rally to help animals

Classmates take initiative to help out Victoria SPCA

Willows elementary Grade 5 students Olivia Osborne

Willows elementary Grade 5 students Olivia Osborne

Inside the principal’s office at École Willows elementary, four young classmates become animated, smiling as they recall the process of putting together a fundraiser.

Though the event, which collected pet food and money for Victoria’s SPCA shelter, was completed two weeks ago, it’s evident their enthusiasm for the charity continues as their story snippets overlap each other.

“We decided that would be cool, trying to collect money (for the shelter),” says Jessie Troughton, 10, describing how the idea came about at a play date.

Jessie, Olivia Osborne, 11, and 10 year olds Simi O’Rourke and Alisa Lyesina, all students in Jessica Caplette’s Grade 5 French immersion class, may simply be your normal, chatty pre-teen girls. But that excitement is part of the beauty of young people getting behind a cause: their energy often overcomes any logistical challenges.

Like the one that arose when they considered holding a raffle.

“We found out that you have to have a gaming licence to do that,” Olivia says.

The girls brainstormed and determined they would simply encourage fellow students to donate cans or cash for the cause. Of course, there was more to it than that.

Students were each given a ticket for a draw – if they wore the school’s colours, red and white, on that day, they received two. The tickets offered a chance to win one of more than a dozen prizes collected by Simi at businesses around Oak Bay.

Spurred on by daily announcements over the school’s P.A. from the young organizers, classes held canned pet food drives, while individual students tackled their own projects.

One boy brought in the proceeds from his birthday toonie party, while another raised more than $20 selling their own artwork.

In all, Simi says, more than 130 cans were collected and more than $400 in cash. “Our goal was $250,” she says with a luminescent smile.

For their own pets, one of the girls has a dog, another has a cat and a third has a fish. After visiting the shelter and interacting with the animals following the campaign, each was left feeling that their efforts were appreciated.

Jessie colourfully describes a talking parrot who followed directions well.

And the girls smile again.



Just Posted

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read