‘The Humanitarian Club of Madeleine-de-Roybon’ wins Awesome Kingston June grant

Pocket Buddies created by the Humanitarian Club of Madeleine-de-Roybon Elementary Public School. Submitted photo.

Every month, Awesome Kingston awards a $1,000 grant to a local project that the trustees think will keep Kingston awesome. Last week, the June grant was awarded to the Humanitarian Club of Madeleine-de-Roybon Elementary Public School.

Since 2013, students at Madeleine-de-Roybon have been performing altruistic acts under the guidance of Jacynthe Aubut, a French teacher at the school. For almost a decade, their efforts have made a significant impact both locally and around the globe.

“It was in 2013 that the Humanitarian Club of Madeleine-de-Roybon Elementary Public School was born despite being not officially having a name that year. A great friend of mine left for Africa that year and I made the decision to make Rainbow Loom bracelets [with students] for the children she would visit,” Aubut, the club’s founder, explained.

“When my friend returned to Canada, she sent pictures to the school of the children who received the bracelets. The big smile of the young Kenyans made a big impact on me. So, moved by what a small gift can bring to young people who have absolutely nothing, I made the decision to do more.”

And so the Humanitarian Club was named, and got to work the following year with a bigger project in mind — Pocket Buddies.

African children enjoying their Pocket Buddies. Submitted photo.

Students make these ‘Pocket Buddies’ during their lunch hour or after school. Aubut noted that they are made of yarn and are dressed using recycled fabric to look like different children from around the world. “We create these dolls to represent all identities without discrimination,” she stated.

The dolls are sold to the community in craft sales or within the school. Since 2014, the club members have helped support 30 countries through this fundraising. The club is close to $30,000 in donations, and they also donate the dolls to children in need locally and in different countries. Their efforts are documented here.

The Humanitarian Club members are between nine and 16 years old, as there are a few volunteers from Mille-Iles Secondary School, as well. As a group, they discuss potential options for their donations and vote for their next cause.

“Through our community efforts, our aim is to continue creating awareness for our young people by placing value on healthy living through simple acts of kindness. And their efforts have already made an impact in our school community and beyond,” Aubut expressed. “For example, some of our students have already extended their efforts through the sales of sweets and pastries or by participating in music concerts as a way of extending comfort and care to non-profit organizations of their choice.”

The Pocket Buddies are designed to represent the diversity of the global community. Submitted photo.

A former student, Lylia Essaddam, has continued her community service through her own charity Gnome for a Home. Her donations go to local non-profit charities supporting the homeless.

“These young people have learned to bring well-being and comfort to non-profit organizations of their choice. The diverse nature of these ‘Buddies’ further emphasizes how each and every one of us is capable of reaching out in acceptance of others and that our differences in this world are essential for a better tomorrow,” Aubut said.

“Our young members thus create ‘Buddies’ that reach out to represent all ethnicities and tendencies without prejudice and without discrimination. Through their gestures, our students have thus become aware of how blessed we are to live in a world where DIVERSITY is indeed a TREASURE!”

Aubut said that the club is very thankful for the Awesome Kingston grant money, not only to create their Pocket Buddies, but because they are expanding to create blankets for people in need here in Kingston.

Léane is modelling the first blanket from the Humanitarian Club. They plan to make many more for those in need. Submitted photo.

“The money will be used to buy the yarn for the blankets, but also to create the Pocket Buddies, as we are out of yarn,” she told Kingstonist, adding that they plan to purchase various shades of yarn to better represent different skin tones.

The club also has plans to purchase a 3D printer, to create miniature wheelchairs or walkers. According to Aubut, this will allow students to develop their STEM knowledge and abilities.

“Our greatest wish is that by encouraging the values of voluntarism in our own students through simple and achievable altruistic acts, they can realize the importance of their efforts, and relay that to others throughout their lives,” Aubut concluded.

Visit the Humanitarian Club’s website or Facebook page for more details, or to purchase a Pocket Buddy.

Learn more about Awesome Kingston and their monthly grant on their website.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!