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Local Students are Leading Efforts to Help Others

Teen working on the PoverTEES Project
A Dentons Make Your Mark of Poverty student participant works on her PoverTEES t-shirt design. This project was a joint effort by students from Salisbury Composite and NextStep High School and was voted the winner of the People’s Choice Award at United Way’s celebration event on May 13th.

“It makes me feel happy that other kids are getting books to read from us,” shared Adam Timmons. 

Adam and his classmates recently completed a school project to provide books to kids who have limited access to reading materials. Students in his class picked out some of their favourite books and wrapped them to be delivered to local kids in need.

This was just one of 19 student-led projects from schools across our region that were made possible by the United Way initiative, Dentons Make Your Mark on Poverty. This initiative provides an opportunity for schools to access grants to complete student-led projects that take action against local poverty.

“It’s a project designed to empower students and to teach them a little about poverty along the way,” explained Adam Rurka, Assistant Principal at at Keenooshayo Elementary.

Projects ranged from holding a fundraiser with student-designed t-shirts, to creating a bedtime storybook for individuals experiencing homelessness, to creating in-school food banks.

In the light of the current situation, United Way took the initiative’s annual event online on May 13th to help celebrate the inspirational work of students and teachers. Hosted by Sarah Chan, United Way Chair of Dentons Make Your Mark on Poverty, the event was the first truly live event in Edmonton during the pandemic and provided a platform for students and community members to connect, dance and have some fun.

Salisbury Composite and NextStep High School were voted winners of the People’s Choice Award by event attendees for their PoverTEES project. Students at these schools worked together to learn about addiction and poverty from a speaker with lived experience which then inspired t-shirt designs that were sold as a fundraiser for local food banks.