Mayor’s Walk chalks up $110K

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Gish kids bring in $8,000 for Afghanistan school

What do 350 people and 34 non-profit organizations have in common? The answer is two-fold: the 12th annual Roy Financial Mayor’s Walk for Charity and $110,000.

This represents about the same take for a smaller number of groups with a higher number of participants than last year.

Co-ordinator Heather McKinnon calls it a huge success.

“Absolutely! It was a good event this year,” she exclaimed.

Although it wasn’t a record year for the walk, she put it on par with 2011’s results. Last year, there were 39 groups – itself a record – but only about 300 walkers. The amount brought in was originally $102,000 but straggling donations and pledges eventually brought that figure up to $114,000.

“We were down five charities from last year so that evens it out, depending on how you look it at. There were three new charities that came on board so that’s good news. It was a good turnout and we were happy that we had so many participants.”

She mentioned the Neighbourhood Watch Association, the St. Albert Youth Justice Committee and the Humane Animal Rescue Team (HART). McKinnon was still pleased with this year’s tally and the fact that some new organizations joined the fold.

At least it was sunnier two weeks ago than it was for the 2011 event.

McKinnon had special thanks for Dan Roy of Roy Financial, the banner sponsor of the event since its inception, and Paradise Pets, a new sponsor. Because of the pet store’s involvement, many people brought out their dogs to join them on the trails.

“With that, we were able to promote pets and we encouraged people to bring their pets out. There were actually quite a few people that brought their pets out. That was a neat turn to the event.”

McKinnon already anticipates another stellar event next year to help support St. Albert’s worthy charitable organizations.

For more information, visit www.royfinancialmayorswalk.com or call McKinnon at 780-459-7377 ext. 226.

Gish helps schoolkids in Afghanistan

It might have taken a full school year but the children at Elmer S. Gish in Akinsdale managed it, and just in time for final exams. They eventually raised a whopping $8,223 for an Alberta-based international development organization called A Better World.

The organization’s objective is to make the world a better place “by inspiring people and organizations to become involved,” according to its website at www.a-better-world.ca.

Heather Japuncic was one of the three teachers who rallied the kids to support various events throughout the year. She saw their enthusiasm as the tally got higher and higher, especially since it was given pictorial demonstration in the form of paper bricks being added to a wall in the school’s hallway.

“Every time we raised $200, we filled in a brick. Weekly and monthly, the kids got to see us getting closer and closer towards that goal. They would just be so excited, and come running to the classrooms, ‘we got another brick!’”

The money was presented to the organization at an assembly on Tuesday. Gish’s widow, Catherine, was in attendance.

Japuncic said that these kinds of endeavours impart valuable life skills on the children that they wouldn’t normally receive during math or science lessons.

“I think they felt really proud of their accomplishments knowing that they did help kids in the world who didn’t have anything like what we have here. It opened their eyes and got them to appreciate what we do have and realize that a little bit of help can help somewhere in the world.”

The money also received matching funding from an anonymous donor. Together, the $16,000 will be used to build two classrooms in a school in Afghanistan.

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Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.