Lollipop Fundraiser – in honour of Barho Family

Teenager models kindness and compassion to motivate friends and school to support refugees

19/03/2019

Cornwall, PE - There aren't many things these days that will keep a teenager at the kitchen table doing work for school the next day. However, this was not a typical thing that Keira Fitzpatrick-Moran was doing.

As she sat at the table, she was thinking about a family who had lost almost everything in a terrible tragedy.

“I originally heard about the story of the Barho family from my family who had heard about it on the news,” explained Keira, “and I wanted to do something about it... and everybody likes candy so I thought a lollipop sale would be a good idea.”

Keira’s plan was to sell lollipops for a buck each to raise money to support other newcomer families in honour of the Barho family. While there was a GoFundMe page already created to support the Barho family, Keira wanted to make sure that other newcomers facing challenges would also have support as they settled in their new homes.

Once Keira made her plan to organize a lollipop fundraiser, she approached Principal Windsor Wight at her school, East Wiltshire Intermediate School.

“When Keira came to talk to me and explain what she wanted to do, I thought it was an amazing idea,” stated Principal Wight. “I reached out to student council to see if I could get others involved and help out. The student council got involved and at that point, I kind of stepped away and they took over.”

However, it wasn’t before Principal Wight said something to help add a little more incentive to their efforts.

“The one comment I made,” said Principal Wight, “was I would match the funds they raise.”

After receiving the approval from the school to run the fundraiser, Keira and the other students decided Tuesday, March 12 would be the first day of the event. She had arranged to have the lollipops donated from Kays Wholesale.

“My mom works for Kays Wholesale and I noticed they had really big bulk containers of candy,” said Keira, “so I wanted to know if there was some way that we could do a partnership. I worked it out with them that they would give me the lollipops if I agreed to work some hours at the warehouse.”

Not only was Keira motivated to respond to a terrible tragedy, but she also made the plan and personally contributed not only her time to run the fundraiser, but to also give of her time to secure the product that would raise the money to help others.

“As a Principal, you try to bring out this culture in your school,” said Principal Wight, “It was a warm and successful fundraiser in response to a family in need. Those are lessons you can’t really teach, those things just come from everyone working together. It was very rewarding for us as teachers, as a school, and for me as a Principal.”

The fundraiser lasted only three days when the lollipops ran out. In just three days, Keira and her friends raised $591.

“It was great,” Keira stated. “If students had extra change after buying a lollipop, they simply gave it. Even if it was just twenty-five cents or so, it all helped.”

The entire amount they raised was then matched by Principal Wight. This brought the total amount of their efforts to $1,182.

“Originally we were going to donate to the GoFundMe page,” says Keira, “but, we thought it would be a good idea, kind of in the Barho family’s name, donate to other families who are in similar situations as them, to spread love and welcoming to their new province and country.”

Keira and her parents approached the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC) to see how they could help refugees on Prince Edward Island.

“I received a call from Keira’s mother on Thursday, March 15, who explained what Keira had done,” said Craig Mackie, Executive Director of PEIANC. “She wanted to know if Keira could donate the funds she raised to us in honour of the Barho family. I told them about the refugee emergency fund we have here that helps refugees facing difficult circumstances as they settle into their new homes on PEI. Keira decided that she would like to donate the proceeds of the fundraiser to this fund.”

Thank you to Keira and her friends for their kindness, compassion and empathy. These traits are often overlooked in the day to day news and activities of life. However, it is heartwarming and affirming that our children are becoming more involved and are capable of determining ways in which to improve the circumstances of others – even the lives of friends they have not yet made.