From the Heart Newsletter

We are pleased to announce that our first newsletter issue of From the Heart is now available.  The purpose of the newsletter is to share stories, feature fundraising events and recognize supporters. 


Students Lead the Way at 7th Annual Ready for Life Breakfast

What do you get when you host a fundraising breakfast in collaboration with staff and students from the North Central School Catchment area? You raise over $35,000 and get an incredible hour filled with memorable moments not soon forgotten!

On May 5, 2016, over 350 guests were greeted at the doors of Queen Elizabeth School by dozens of enthusiastic student leaders. Kindergarten to Grade 12 displays lined the hallways, engaging our friends as they made their way to the gym. Not only was the student work impressive; the work shone a light on the exceptional teaching and learning taking place in our District. While guests made their way to their tables, they were treated to an amazing music performance by the Queen Elizabeth jazz band and a fabulous solo performance by a talented young lady.

Then all attention turned to Trinity, a Grade 3 graduate of the Tipaskan full-day Kindergarten program, and Pamela, a Grade 11 student from Queen Elizabeth, as they made their way across the stage and announced the morning was “all about possibilities!” Both girls had tremendous confidence and led the hour long program like professional hosts! Guests were wowed by a singing performance from the Lauderdale School full-day Kindergarten class who were dressed up as professionals. Cute little Kinders presented Board Chair Dr. Louise Hayes with a big white piggy bank full of over $2000 from the six Foundation funded schools’ Pay it Forward campaigns. One little Kinder proudly announced the money would go to the “kids in the fire.” This warmed everyone’s heart as at that time the Fort McMurray fires were burning.

Next up! Director Tracy Poulin pulled the previous director, Sandra Woitas, on stage and announced a scholarship had been established in her honour. This caused a few wet eyes, including Sandra’s. Tears were also shed when co-emcee Pamela shared her inspiring story of leaving Rwanda to come to Canada and the effect her teachers had on her learning journey.

Guests then viewed a special video of three groups of full-day Kindergarten students learning about career possibilities at EPCOR, Tudor Glen Veterinarian Clinic and New Cap Radio. If you haven’t seen this video, you can access it on our website. As the event came to a close, the rich voices of a 350 member choir comprised of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students could be heard coming from the hallway. This North Central Catchment choir, mentored by Scott Leithead from the Edmonton’s Kokopelli Choir Association, sang several African songs while they surrounded the guests. Words cannot describe the effect this performance had on everyone.

We are not sure we can “top” this breakfast at our 8th Annual Ready for Life Fundraising Breakfast scheduled for May 2017, but we will certainly try!

We would like to extend a big thank you to Queen Eliizabeth and all of the North Central Catchment staff and students who made this incredible performance possible.

7th Annual Ready for Life Breakfast pictures


May 14, 2015 - Community Spirit filled up W.P. Wagner Gym at 6th Ready for Life Breakfast

Wagner Warriors rock!  On May 14, 2015, our guests were greeted in the school parking lot and at the doors by excited students who were pumped to be hosting our Ready for Life Breakfast.  In addition to the musicians that serenaded people into the building, guests could get their picture taken at a photo booth at the front entrance and the hallways were full of activity, artwork, installations, and science and technology displays showcasing the exceptional teaching and learning happening at W.P. Wagner.

That was just the start to an amazing one-hour long program which began at 7:30 a.m.  As students directed guests to their tables, background music was provided by the school’s Jazz A Band and students from the Culinary Program served up coffee, tea and juice, along with platters of fresh fruit and homemade pastries.

The event was emceed by Grade 11 student Judy and Grade 12 student Sheldon, and opened with a touching interpretation of the Etta James’ tune – No One is Alone – sung by a Grade 12 student and W.P. Wagner graduate.  The Foundation’s Board of Governors’ Chair Dr. Louise Hayes spoke about the importance of getting children ready for learning at the front end of their educational journey, and Director Tracy Poulin shared stats about why full-day Kindergarten makes sense and reflected on the critical role the community can play in getting children ready for life.

In between presentations, guests watched our “Show and Tell” video demonstrating the value of full-day Kindergarten and showing a few of the little Kinders thanking some of our supporters during a surprise visit to their workplace or home.  The full-day Kindergarten staff from Beacon Heights, Calder, Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh, Princeton and Tipaskan schools announced that they raised $3,698 via their own pay-it-forward campaigns.  As well, the Tipaskan School Tigers Kindergarten students belted out the ABC song – frontwards and backwards – to the delight of the crowd!

The real WOW moment of the morning occurred when Margaret, a Grade 12 student and member of the school’s leadership team, asked guests to find it in their hearts to make a contribution.  What inspired folks to do so was her preamble!  “When the students were told the school was hosting this year’s breakfast, we decided to plan our own Ready for Life project and make a contribution as well,” explained Margaret.  “Our idea of giving back to community blossomed into a pep rally to create enthusiasm among students that included a day of fun with Princeton School’s full-day Kindergarteners and concluded with a 24-hour bike-a-thon – all of which was videotaped!”  The finale happened when all the students in the gym raced to the stage to present the Foundation with a cheque of $43,110 and gift the Kindergarten classrooms with over 1,500 new and gently used children’s books they collected.  The feeling of community spirit was everywhere and welled in the eyes of many!

350+ friends, students and staff members came out to support children who will be attending full-day Kindergarten during the 2015-16 school year at the six schools that reside in Edmonton’s most socially vulnerable neighbourhoods and are currently funded by the Foundation.  We are pleased to announce that $64,000 (and still counting) was raised through the generosity of community - not including the early bird commitments made by generous Edmontonians, Foundations, corporations, funding organizations and service clubs.

View the Show and Tell video. Why Full-day Kindergarten and Thank you to Supporters

Click on link to Watch the Wagner Students’ video.


May 29, 2014 - Friends and Heroes make 5th Annual Ready for Life Breakfast a Success

Written by Andrea Aschenbrenner, MacEwan University Intern

Breakfast 2014 Photos 143

Great news for beansprouts! On May 29, we held our annual Ready for Life Breakfast fundraiser at M.E. LaZerte School. The gym was jam packed with over 350 of our friends who came in support of full-day Kindergarten programs. Due to the generous contributions made by individuals, organizations and funding agencies, we were able to raise an amazing $300,000 (and still counting).

All of the money raised will go back into funding full-day Kindergarten classrooms at Beacon Heights, Calder, Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh, Princeton and Tipaskan schools.

M.E. LaZerte made the morning memorable for all! Guests showed up at the school and were immediately greeted in the rain by umbrella clad students. The school had their very own pianist welcoming guests into the foyer and a violinist who serenaded guests as they entered the gymnasium. The event was emceed by Grade 11 and 12 students and opened up with an amazing rendition of Etta James’ At Last by vocalist Sylvia Choi.

Next up, the chair of our Board of Governors Dr. Louise Hayes spoke about the importance of full-day Kindergarten programs and how it helps get children ready for learning. “When I look around the room, I see so many people engaged in public education and helping children succeed,” remarked Dr. Hayes.  “Your involvement is key to ensuring that these little Kindergarteners will one day be doctors, musicians, writers, lawyers, fashion designers, builders, and quite possibly our next generation of elected officials.”

Two graduates (Grades 2 and 3) from Tipaskan’s full-day Kindergarten program shared stories about how their schooling has helped them grow.  After their adorable speeches, Lauderdale Principal Dorothy Arts came to the stage with the six schools’ full-day Kindergarten teachers and principals to announce how much money was raised through their pay-it-forward campaigns.  Next, our Show and Tell video offered a visualization of what full-day Kindergarten means to students, teachers and the community.  The Lauderdale Oildrops then melted hearts with a Thank You song written by Princeton’s full-day Kindergarten teacher Pina Rygh. The morning ended with a BANG – a drum line performance and cultural parade organized by M.E. LaZerte. Fun was had by all!

It costs approximately $100,000 to subsidize the other half-day of Kindergarten. Some of the contributors who made early bird commitments included generous Edmontonians, the RBC Foundation (5th year contributor and our first corporate donor); Kingsway Mall (via annual activities such as the Ready to Shine student  fashion show, Christmas Wrap and Roll campaign and other events); EPCOR (4th donation in the past five years) and Ledcor (2nd year of a 5-year contribution). Shortly after the breakfast, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation announced something amazing! In addition to their continued commitment to Lauderdale School (4th year of a 5-year contribution), they will be providing additional funding for Princeton School during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.

John Chwyl, Marketing Director of Kingsway Mall, also spoke at the breakfast event. “It has been an honor for me to be able to utilize the resources we have at Kingsway to create attention for the Foundation,” said John.  “We are thrilled and humbled to raise dollars to better the lives of children.”

Because of Edmonton’s heroes, we are able to create quality learning environments that nourish young minds and help get students ready for life!

View photos from the event


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