True to its commitment to not only providing education, but also to helping its students live out their faith, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in Lindsay has just wrapped up a campaign that saw the school community providing gifts for families in need.
As part of the school’s ‘Be an Angel’ program, the families were identified by St. Vincent de Paul, the Roman Catholic charity, and assigned to the school for some seasonal kindness.
Students provided donations geared to the age of the children, as well as items for the family as a whole. For instance, they would learn that their family had three children, the ages of the kids and their interests, and provide toys geared to what they would enjoy. The contributions were collected on December 13 for distribution.
Being a part of something bigger is important, says the school’s chaplaincy team leader Kendra Willis. “It’s not just those in our building,” she says. “It’s about taking time to accompany others on their journey, whatever that may be.”
The emphasis on reflection and growth isn’t limited to Advent — the time leading up to Christmas — and it doesn’t end on December 26.
“Our religion classes visit nursing homes and also work with younger children,” says Willis. The teachers participate, too, using some of their professional development time to put their faith into action by donating time at community charities and helping do yard work for those unable to do it themselves.
While the goal of charitable giving and outreach is to make others’ lives better, the students and school community as a whole also benefit.
“It’s all related to transforming ourselves and deepening our relationships,” Willis says. “We all long for that in some capacity. We are meant to be with others.”