by Denise Eppel, Chair
JFC School Council
It’s amazing to me the number of people who are willing to give so freely of themselves. Take, for example, Mr. Norm Giesbrecht, local businessman and Music Director at Highland Baptist Church, in Kitchener. Mr. Giesbrecht and his wife, Carol, volunteer with the Nutrition for Learning program at Highland Baptist Church which is headed up by Mrs. Pat Yanke.
"Nutrition for Learning supports community-based nutrition programs committed to improving the learning capacity, health and well being of children and youth in Waterloo Region” - (http://www.nutritionforlearning.ca).
The Highland Baptist Church program provides a healthy breakfast daily for the students of J. F. Carmichael Public School (JFC).
In my role as a JFC School Council member, I visited the program and learned that not only were our students’ nutritional needs being met, but their learning was also being enhanced through the playing of hand bells and chimes, courtesy of Mr. Giesbrecht. We were so impressed with the talent of these students, we recruited more students from the school to form a 14-member bell choir.
While some students had musical backgrounds, most did not, and it took only a few weeks before the children were ready to perform. While participation in this program does not require any previous experience, a fair amount of commitment and teamwork is involved - we are so proud of our students who have committed to the early morning practices. During the school year, the choir plays during school assemblies, at Highland Baptist Church and at other venues, as requested.
This opportunity has tremendous benefits for our students. For some, it is an opportunity to play a musical instrument that may not otherwise be possible. But for all bell choir students, it provides a sense of belonging and opportunities to develop confidence, self-esteem and social skills. These productive and positive life skills are essential to the overall success of our students.
We are forever grateful to Lynne Carroll, Norm Giesbrecht, Ginny Pope, Das Sydney, Pat Yanke and the many Nutrition for Learning volunteers at Highland Baptist Church for dedicating their time, energy and talents to our students. And to Kathy Bolhuis, Denise Eppel and Carolyn Strathdee, JFC School Council members, who have worked hard to keep this wonderful partnership alive.
In 2012, JFC will celebrate 75 years in this West Kitchener neighbourhood. It would be a great time to acknowledge all of the community volunteers, over the years, who have contributed to making JFC such a great place to learn.
Denise Eppel, Chair
JFC School Council
J. F. Carmichael Public School is thankful for community partnership
From left, back: Carolyn Strathdee, Ginny Pope, Norm Giesbrecht, Pat Yanke, Lynne Carroll, Denise Eppel; middle row: Isabella Sebastian, Kate Strathdee, Emma Tomkinson, Sabrina Graham-Clarke, Favour Juwley, Erich Eppel, Erin Eppel; front row: Niamh Malone, Grace Patton, Ruby Pigeau, Katie Song, Kevin Liu, Brian Liu. Absent from photo: Presley Vanderhout.
Photo by Heather Sebastian
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