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School helps ‘families’


Students at Crossroads School in Devlin really got into the Christmas spirit this year—raising funds to donate to the “Families for Families” refugee initiative.

“It started as a social studies project in our classroom and then turned into a fundraiser at the Christmas concert,” noted Tyson Grinsell, who teaches the Grade 5/6 class there.

In class, Grinsell said they were looking at the Syrian refugee situation and how Canada is able to help.

“Then we talked about what can we do in our classroom to help and what can we do in our school to help,” he noted, adding the students started brainstorming.

“One of the groups had come up with the idea to have a fundraiser and another group had said we should do a bake sale, so what we ended up doing was taking the kids’ ideas and turned it into selling art and having a bake sale at the Christmas concert,” Grinsell explained.

“It started with our class and it spread throughout the school,” he added.

“Each of the classrooms in the school each made art for the art sale.

“Some classrooms did baking as part of their day and other kids baked stuff at home and brought it in,” Grinsell noted, saying other family members donated baking, as well.

Those who did baking at school were able to tie it in with the math curriculum.

“They had to, in groups, figure out how much of each item they were going to bake, how they were going to package them, and how much they were going to charge and figure out the profits,” Grinsell said.

The art and bake sale then was held Dec. 9 during the school’s Christmas concert.

“Students in my class all worked at it,” Grinsell noted.

“The students were the cashiers and ran the cash box; they were there to greet people and helped decorate during the day.”

He said the sale seemed to go over really well.

“Lots of people were really happy that [the sale] was taking place,” he remarked. “I got lots of positive feedback.

“People had really nice things to say.”

The sale ultimately raised $570.

“It was more than I expected for the one night,” Grinsell enthused. “All the kids were really happy.

“I think everyone in the school was pretty surprised by how well it did,” he added, noting the students in his class took a vote to determine where the money would go.

It was decided it would be donated to the local “Families for Families” initiative set up to bring a refugee family to Rainy River District.

“I read them the article that was in the paper and we all voted that that was what we wanted to donate the money to,” Grinsell said.

“Really it was all them,” he stressed. “I facilitated it but it was all their choices and their ideas.”

Grinsell said he’s very proud of his students.

“They were able to exceed their goal,” he noted, referring to the total amount raised.

“Everyone was really proud of themselves that they did that. . . .

“We turned it into a really good project and with the whole school involved, it was really cool,” Grinsell added.

At last report, the “Families for Families” initiative had collected about $50,000, with funds still being collected until Christmas Eve.

The committee is working to bring a family of six members to the district and to support them for a year.

If there are excess funds, they will consider sponsoring a smaller family later on.

Donations can be dropped off at the CIBC in Fort Frances or brought to St. Mary’s Church no later than tomorrow (Dec. 24).

E-transfers also can be made to

Charitable tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more.

Make cheques payable to St. Mary’s Church, with “Families for Families” on the memo line.

For more information, call Kathy Mueller at 274-0583.

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