Sunbeam’s Day Program has been talking a lot about community and brainstorming ideas for how they can give back. This group consists of individuals studying academic subjects who also participate in a variety of other activities (including swimming, sports, crafts, and volunteering). Not only have they been talking about community – but they are exploring each level of community – within their own group, at the Sunbeam Centre, around Kitchener, and across the world.
When it comes to giving back on a global level, that can feel a little overwhelming, but these young individuals found a way! They got in touch with Operation Christmas Child – an established campaign through Samaritan’s Purse, an International Relief Organization. Operation Christmas Child is a practical way for Canadians to bring some holiday joy (in the form of toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and other gifts) to children in developing countries around the world.
They were responsible for making Sunbeam Centre’s shoebox drive a success! They asked members of their community, Sunbeam Centre staff, family, and friends to donate in whatever way they could. They made posters about the campaign, made donations themselves, filled and collected shoeboxes, and dropped off the completed shoeboxes at the local collection site. By the end of their campaign, Sunbeam’s Day Program had collected 30 shoeboxes!
Official numbers have not yet been released by Samaritan’s Purse, but at the time Sunbeam’s team went to drop off their donation – two days before the final collection deadline – the Kitchener area had already collected 1000 shoeboxes from individuals and other community groups. It was a special feeling – to know that Sunbeam Centre’s Day Program was acting as a part of their community – and contributing to giving on a much larger scale. Giselle Bauman, a staff member of Community Living, shared “[this campaign felt so successful] because of the support we got from everyone who filled boxes. People kept asking us how it was going, how many boxes we had, and were really excited to hear the results.”
We want to say a big thank you to everyone in the Day Program, especially to Group 4 (Lisa J., Mel B., Matthew M., Korey G., John, Alissa, Chris), for reminding us how important community is and how much impact we can have when we try to make a difference. This was the first year Sunbeam Centre’s Day Program ran a shoebox drive for Operation Christmas Child, but it likely won’t be the last!
Do you have a favourite way to give back to a community you belong to? Share it with us on our Facebook page! The Day Program is always looking for ideas and inspiration!