May 12, 2011 – Foundation breakfast sows seeds of hope

More than 275 community members gathered at McNally School on May 12, eager to help kids get ready for learning, ready for growing and ready for life. In its second year, the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation hosted its annual fundraising breakfast, raising more than $200,000 for full-day Kindergarten programs in the city's most vulnerable neighbourhoods.

Like a garden in bloom, the Ready for Life Breakfast was a feast for the senses that planted seeds of hope. Director Sandra Woitas explains, "the Foundation is like the little engine that could - we've got to 'think-we-can' to make good things happen for our kids." As guests arrived, they re-connected with their inner child by blowing bubbles and meeting new friends, surrounded by umbrella trees fastened with student messages.

Like the traditional Aboriginal gardening practice, where planting corns, beans and squash together creates an environment that boosts growth, children thrive when they learn as a group. For this reason, part of the morning included a success story from a Tipaskan School student and parent. For many, listening to the young hearing-impaired student voice her love of learning proved their contributions were having an impact. Within a year, she had blossomed into an inquisitive young reader.

For RBC, achieving meaningful, long-term change through corporate giving is a priority. For a second year, RBC gifted the Foundation $50,000, causing a loud uproar of applause. "At RBC, we believe in investing in education is one of the most important things we can do because it helps build future community leaders," says Dave Majeski, RBC Vice-President Real Estate & Commercial Markets. "We are proud to support the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation and to help kids get the best start in life." Click here for a photo of Dave Majeski, Janet Mosier, RBC Relationship Account Manager, and Arbie, RBC Mascot, providing a cheque to Sandra Woitas.

Many other generous contributors also understand that it takes an entire community to educate a child. EPCOR gifted the Foundation $20,000 at the breakfast, for a total of $40,000 over the past year, and an anonymous donor provided a gift of $50,000. Additional early-bird donors included 100.3 The Bear Children's Fund, Edmonton Twestival, Kingsway Mall and Ms. San San Sy, one of the Foundation's Board of Governors.

As Woitas describes it, "if we give them the tools, kids have no limits to their potential." In the meantime, the Foundation is working to enhance education opportunities for students in vulnerable situations. "Showing - and telling - kids that we believe in them is important. That's why the Foundation is working to build and sustain the work we've started." The community's overwhelming response has shown that the Foundation's message is taking root.

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