Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kids’ artwork making a world of difference

As posted by the Lethbridge Herald, October 29, 2014.

By Nick Kuhl
Lethbridge Herald

Grade 2 and 3 students at Westminster Elementary School are already learning about the importance of helping others.

As part of a project launched by the new non-profit organization Kids’ Art for a Cause, the children have created a series of paintings with starry skies symbolizing that everyone sleeps under the same sky and everyone deserves a good sleep.

They have then been selling the works online to raise money for the charity Sleeping Children Around the World, which provides bedkits to children in developing countries.

“It’s curriculum driven; in social studies, we’re learning about quality of life and so I wanted to choose something tangible that kids understand,” said Grant Bertamini, a Grade 2/3 teacher at Westminster Elementary School and the founder and president of Kids’ Art for a Cause.

“We looked at some pictures of kids’ sleeping conditions in different parts of the world. For some kids, where they sleep is downright unsafe. What it all comes back to for us, is we’re trying to improve somebody’s quality of life.”

“We started painting because some people don’t have beds,” said student Kadence Boyle, 8.

The paintings have been up for sale on the website, with 14 having been sold as of Monday afternoon and seven still available.

Bertamini said the idea behind starting Kids’ Art for a Cause was to employ a streamlined process for donating money to charity. He incorporated the organization, earned the non-profit status and got a sponsor to cover all of the overhead costs, ensuring that all donations go directly to the charity.

Kids’ Art for a Cause is also planning to develop other fundraising projects with groups of kids in other schools, as well as youth groups, beginning next year.

“One of the points of this is that we raise money for charity. But that’s almost secondary,” Bertamini said.

“The bigger thing for me is that we’re showing kids that if there’s something about the world that you don’t like, you can change it. If they grow up feeling like they can drive positive change, then they’ll grow up to be difference makers.”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Roxborough Retirement Residence helps kids

As posted on Newmarket Era, October 9, 2014.

By Chris Simon

Many children across the world can sleep a little safer, thanks to residents at a Newmarket retirement complex.

The Roxborough Retirement Residence collected about $900 for Sleeping Children Around the World, a Canadian charity that provides bed kits to kids living in 33 countries, during a fundraiser that included a presentation by Sandra Riches, whose parent lives in the facility.

Riches, who volunteered to hand out kits for the charity in India last year, said Sleeping Children makes a difference in the lives of families in developing countries.

“In some parts of the world, children do not have what they need to have a good night’s sleep,” she said during her presentation at the residence. “The goal is to build a world where children benefit from the comfort of a good sleep.”

Seeing the effects of the initiative firsthand prompted Riches to relay the importance of the charity’s work.

“Some of the family stories are just heart wrenching, but the children are happy,” Riches said of her visit to India. “They’re coming from great distances to a central spot to get the kits. Some of them travelled four hours by foot. There’s never enough to go around.”

Each bed kit consists of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), clothes and school supplies. Kits cost $35 each.

Since its founding by Murray and Margaret Dryden in 1970, Sleeping Children has raised more than $23 million, according to the charity’s website.

The organization has helped more than a million kids.