Usually, we think about extending our support across continents, but sometimes you can do a lot of good right next door, too. Briar Hill School set the example. With an active Parent Council, they had resources and support to do a variety of fundraising activities for their school.

“We’re really happy that we can raise money,” says Lisa Mueller, President of the Briar Hill School Parent Council. “But it occurred to us that it might be harder for other Calgary schools to raise their own funds and we were looking for a way to level the playing field a bit.”

That’s when a Briar Hill member of Calgary Association of Schools and Parent Councils (CAPSC) learned about EducationMatters. They learned some Calgary schools don’t benefit from casino money or serve higher-needs students and family populations. EducationMatters provides grants to those schools, supporting enhancement programs for their students.

Creating a Fund

So the idea of creating a fund at EducationMatters to help other schools got an enthusiastic reception from the Briar Hill School Parent Council. This gesture would act as a great example to the students too. “Here was a way to ‘share the wealth’ in partnership with a foundation who could uncover the need and provide the framework,” recalls Council Treasurer Kathleen Stanliand. “It was just what we were looking for: we had the funds and they had the will.”

“We’re thrilled – it’s very much in the spirit of the phrase, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,'” says Barbara Burggraf, executive director of Education Matters. “Briar Hill’s gesture is all about taking the lead to help out in their own back yard. They are setting a wonderful example that we know other Calgary schools will want to follow.”

Getting Involved

Briar Hill called on other schools to support the fund, and they’re responding. This community engagement initiative has inspired additional support from Sunalta School Parents’ Society, Queen Elizabeth Elementary Program Enhancement Society, Haultain Memorial School, Earl Grey Parents Association, Queen Elizabeth Parents Educational Booster Association and Olympic Heights School. And the support doesn’t have to come from parent councils either. Students could also do their part with their own fundraisers. They can learn by example on how to build community.