School Children encouraged to make our communities even better places to live
Markham Fair, a 171-year-old institution in Markham, has endured for generations because of the dedication and perseverance of thousands of volunteers. The fair continues to draw large crowds annually and remains Canada’s largest four-day fair. Throughout its history, the Fair has contributed to the building of our local communities by showcasing talent, fostering innovation, hosting events, championing charitable ventures, and supporting important civic, provincial and national matters. It would be impossible to tell the story of the history of Markham and ignore the contributions of Markham Fair.
In this spirit of “volunteerism” and “community building”, Markham Fair has issued a challenge to all elementary schools in the communities of Markham and Stouffville. Every student in every local school is being challenged to “lend a hand” to their communities through acts of kindness, generosity and helpfulness. The program has been endorsed by both the York Regional District School Board and the York Catholic District School Board, and has also received enthusiastic support from local mayors and the Region.
“Lend a Hand” encourages our youth of today to become active in the community through goodwill activities, promoting and strengthening trust among citizens, and by purposely creating opportunities for participation within their community. …The program will launch this spring and I strongly endorse and encourage all of our teachers to partake and spread the message, challenging all elementary school students to get involved.” Mayor Justin Altmann, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville
“As Mayor, I extend our sincere appreciation to the Markham Fair for launching this wonderful initiative into our community and the schools that support their students in lending a hand.” Mayor Frank Scarpitti, City of Markham
“As one of the fastest growing municipalities, staying connected with our friends and families is not always easy. By choosing to actively participate in this campaign, elementary students are inspiring kindness and making a positive difference in the communities where they live and go to school.” Chair Wayne Emmerson, Region of York
With the assistance of the Federal Government, funding has been received to hire a team of post-secondary school students during the months of May and June. The team will visit participating schools and will conduct assemblies – teaching children about the struggles of our pioneer settlers, and relating these struggles to the many newcomers (and their struggles) that live in the area today. They will also discuss the importance of community-building, and will then challenge students to participate in the “Lend a Hand” program. Students will be left with hand print cut-outs and they will be asked to decorate these with their commitments to “lend a hand”. Thousands and thousands of these handprints will be displayed at the fair in October demonstrating the tremendous impact local students are having in the community.
Children will be encouraged to come up with their own ideas for their “Lend a Hand” initiatives, but some examples of their good work might be:
- Volunteer time to help a younger buddy read (reading buddies)
- School yard / park clean up
- Peer Tutoring
- Organize a food drive
- Walk a dog
- Rake for a neighbour
- Donate old toys to someone who can use them
- Volunteer to help a teacher
- Volunteer to help the librarian
- Knit a scarf to donate
Group or Class Activities
- Primary class sends spring artwork to a local nursing home
- Group of junior students write a poem about “community” and distribute it at the local library (with permission)
- A junior class could write letters of appreciation to veterans, and send them to the Legion
- A group of intermediate students could clean up their neighbourhood by removing old signs from poles
- A primary class could collect pop can tabs for charity
- A group of intermediates could prepare a welcome basket for a new family in the neighbourhood
Markham Fair will be held on October 1-4, 2015.
Additional information about the fair and/or about the “Lend a Hand” program may be found on the Lend a Hand School Assembly Page
Don’t forget to share your community contributions using:
John Peco, General Manager