As Elliot Lakers, we know that it isn’t always easy living in a small town. Sometimes, we get so bogged down by the negatives that we forget to acknowledge the truly wonderful things about our community. 

Let me remind you. We have an abundance of trails that are just begging to be explored. We also have a dedicated and extremely underrated group of volunteers who are committed to maintaining these trails for our enjoyment. We have many stunning lakes and beaches, where we can find complete isolation if we choose to. We have young people in ELAC, track and field, karate, wrestling, skiing and dance proving that they are capable of competing at a provincial, national and even world level. We have an undeniably strong hockey community that consistently demonstrates that they are far more than a team - they are a family.

Above all, in this town, we have heart.  Elliot Lakers have a strong sense of community that calls us to support each other anytime there is a need. NOTHING makes me more proud of my home town than seeing a group of individuals band together to help one of our own. 

I was particularly moved when I discovered that this mentality has translated to our children.  In late April, a group of Grade 1/2 students at Our Lady of Fatima School championed an idea to fundraise to increase awareness about Epilepsy.  The fundraiser was initiated because a student in Grade 1/2 has Epilepsy and often has seizures in the classroom. Students and staff fondly refer to this student as Mojo, and as a result, the fundraiser slogan became, “Epilepsy messed with the wrong MOJO.” Being exposed to this disorder on a daily basis has enabled students to develop a deeper understanding of Epilepsy and what they should do when their friend is having a seizure.  The students held a penny sale, sold bracelets, hosted a spaghetti luncheon, ordered personalized Purple t-shirts, and organized a school-wide Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness.  Their job throughout the fundraising efforts was to educate the rest of the school about Epilepsy and seizure first aid.  When asked how they knew so much about the disorder, one six-year-old student replied, “Well, we know a little from the adults in our classroom, but mostly, we learned from our friend who has Epilepsy. He’s taught us a lot.” It was this perceptiveness and compassion that led this class to host a fundraiser in the first place.

These students also worked very hard to deliver a presentation about Epilepsy to their entire school. Though many of them struggled with stage fright, they selflessly stepped up to spread awareness and support their friend.  Through their fundraising efforts, these young students were able to raise $1323.00.

They chose to donate the money to the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides - a program that depends entirely on public contribution.  The class learned that Guide Dogs can be trained for a number of different jobs: Vision dogs, Hearing dogs, Service Dogs, Autism Assistance, Diabetic Alert and most notably for these students, Seizure Response.  This cause is particularly important to these students because their classmate is currently in the process of obtaining a Guide Dog of his own. 

On May 16th, the Grade 1/2 students handed their cheque over to Robert Kerr, a volunteer for Lions Foundation of Canada Guide Dogs.  He is organizing a Pet Value Walk for Dog Guides, on May 28th at the ELSS track. Registration begins at 10:00am and the walk begins at 12:00pm.  

The Grade 1/2 students will continue to show their support at this Pet Value Walk for Dog Guides.

Every one of these students truly embraced what it means to be an Elliot Laker.  They put their whole hearts into supporting their friend and demonstrated that you are never too young to make a difference. Please keep perpetuating this sense of community by joining them on the track, on May 28th to show your support!