Research project raises funds for PVHS

The grade 3 students at Minnewasta School researched charitable organizations, and with the help of the Morden Area Foundation, raised $514 for Pembina Valley Humane Society. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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Students at Minnewasta School saw their hard work and fundraising pay off as they wrapped up a project on research.

A few years ago grade 3 teacher Renee Klassen wanted to change how students learned to research. “When we researched countries as part of our connecting with the world, I found that kids ended up with more of a tourist guide than anything,” she said. “They ended up with just the famous places in that country, they didn’t really understand how a country was different from us.”

To give them a better learning experience, Klassen had the students research non-profits to see how people’s lives differed from theirs. Kids can choose a local, foreign, health, child sponsoring or environmental non-profit, and pairs of students research and present their findings to the class.

In the meantime, students spent February raising funds through cookie sales. Those funds went to the non-profit that was chosen through the presentations.

Students raised $257 and were going to donate the funds to Pembina Valley Humane Society, but were given a chance to apply for a grant through the Morden Area Foundation.

The two students whose presentation was chosen, Mia Brass and Austin Dyck, presented to Morden Area Foundation executive director Lynda Lambert and board chair Allison Braun on April 16 to apply for more funds for PVHS. MAF doubled the donation, and $514 went to PVHS.

Lambert said it was a fantastic opportunity to partner with the students. “It’s all a big teaching aspect so that they can learn about the projects in town and how they can work with us and how we can help give them more money,” she said. “How working together is what makes things go, that’s what community is. We’re proud of them.”

Klassen said the project gave the students a chance to practice plenty of skills, like research, fundraising, counting money, baking and voting. “We did a ballot where you may only check one, don’t wreck your ballot,” she said. “Not everybody was happy with the results, so we had a talk about when you vote, you might vote for a political candidate that doesn’t win and you still have to agree to follow whoever does win.”

The Humane Society brought along Lyric to give the kids an example of who exactly will be benefitting from their efforts.

PVHS shelter manager Dave Bone said the Humane Society is starting to see a trend where more young people are wanting to help out or get involved at the shelter. “That’s fantastic because we’re planting seeds that are going to help to make future generations better and more responsible pet owners,” he said. “The money is fantastic, we’ll put it to great use, but almost more importantly is the meaning behind it, that these kids got together and chose us to donate to. It’s invaluable.”

The donation came shortly after a successful Sud, Spud and Steak fundraiser. Bone said things are going well for the shelter, but they are still struggling to fill seats on the board and find more volunteers.

“There’s a lot of people behind the scenes that make those fundraisers work,” he said. “We’re still looking for some people to step up and help us with fundraising and volunteering as well. I think sometimes people just don’t know the need… we try to spread the world that it takes a team of people to put these kind of things on.”