What I Learned From Giving Back

By Grade 8 student Luke Hilborn
New Circles Community Services is a not-for-profit agency that provides basic necessities for people living in poverty. Every November and December, New Circles has an anonymous gift-giving program called the Holiday Angel program. This year, the Grade 8s decided to get involved in the program. We were given a wish list of much-needed items to fill for a family over the holidays.
I wanted to take part in the Holiday Angel program because it was a way for me to be able to help. I don’t have much of my own money to donate, so I thought that I could donate my time. I was excited and eager to help any family, but when I read about what this family had gone through, it made me want to help even more. The family of six are refugees from Syria. The father was put in prison and tortured for fighting for human rights for people in his home country. Reading about what this family had gone through really bothered me and made me emotional. It made me realize how grateful I am for the life that I have.

The program started out just for our class (8M). After it was all set up, I thought that it wouldn’t be that much extra work to include the other three Grade 8 classes. Mme Moore helped me through the entire process and Ms. Murray and Ms. Hancock answered a lot of my questions. We created a subcommittee that was very helpful.

The Grade 8s all helped to wrap the gifts, which was a lot of fun. We loaded the truck and drove to New Circles to deliver the items. I really saw then how generous everyone was. There was an endless stack of boxes at the New Circles warehouse. Some examples of items that were donated were strollers, winter coats, boots, hats, clothing and bedding as well as a lot of items for the expected baby.

I learned that there are a lot more steps than I thought to make something happen. I really liked checking my email every day to see all of the donations. The best part was realizing how generous people are. It was great that so many Grade 8s were involved as it was student-run. It was fun for me because I felt like I was running a business and it was challenging. I would love to be involved in something like this again.

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