May 30, 2013 - Making a difference one full-day Kindergarten at a time

Amazing! Over 440 friends of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation attended our fourth annual Ready for Life breakfast bright and early on May 30 at Harry Ainlay School. In total, approximately $250,000 (and still counting) was contributed by individuals, organizations and funding agencies to help us get children ready for learning as they start their public education journey.

100 per cent of the money raised at the breakfast went into our full-day Kindergarten piggybank to sustain the three programs we currently fund at Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh and Tipaskan schools. But that’s not all!  Enough money was raised, which means  that a full-day program canbe established to benefit other socially vulnerable students in another elementary school during the 2013-14 school year.

Our invited guests showed up for breakfast, which was prepared by the students, and participated in the exciting program by blowing bubbles and making noise with clappers and shakers. The event was emceed by Grade 12 students from Harry Ainlay and kick-started by the school’s amazing XQ Clique popping dance group. Mid-way through the program, Grades 1 and 2 students from Tipaskan School sang two tunes that made hearts melt. Among the presentations, Principals Linda Speelman from Mee-Yah-Noh, Dorothy Arts from Lauderdale and Cheryl Belyea from Tipaskan announced their schools’ pay-it-forward contributions to the Foundation.

During the program, a guardian and her full-day Kindergartener made a lasting impression. Mayran shared her story about immigrating to Canada and the invaluable resources available to support newcomers. “I am so grateful for Edmonton’s outstanding public education,” expressed Mayran, while Jamila skipped around the stage blowing bubbles.  “Full-day Kindergarten is beneficial in so many ways – intellectually, emotionally and socially – and, most importantly, gives children time to learn through play!”  Laughter filled the gym when Mayran referred to her seven children as 7,000 kids and again when Jamila grabbed the microphone to put an end to the presentation by saying, “thank you very much for giving me full-day Kindergarten.” 

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 (4th year contributor and our first corporate donor); Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (3rd year of 5-year commitment and gifted us with another $100,000 to fund an additional school site); and Kingsway Mall (focused on raising $100,000 by the end of December 2013 through $’s realized at a variety of special events and activities).

“We are so fortunate the community understands and values the importance of planting, cultivating and nurturing our little bean sprouts,” explained Foundation Director Sandra Woitas. “Every child deserves the best teachers, resources and learning opportunities to help them blossom as they transition into Grade 1 and get ready for life.”

The breakfast ended with flips, tumbles and cheers performed by the Harry Ainlay Titan Cheer Team.

Click here to view event pictures.
Click here to watch the inspirational video shown to guests at the breakfast.

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