Published on January 22nd, 2015 | by Natalie Finnemore
We Day Welcomes and Inspires CAA School Safety Patrollers
Even a simple kind gesture, such as helping someone cross the street safely, can help make someone’s day better.
That’s among the messages that youth who volunteer receive at each We Day celebration throughout North America and the United Kingdom.
We Day is an exclusive, invitation-only event hosted by Free the Children, a charity that encourages youth volunteerism locally and globally. CAA was proud to be one of the sponsors of the We Day event in the Kitchener-Waterloo area this past year.
“We Day is a way for us to recognize the incredible dedication to volunteerism of our CAA School Safety Patrollers,” said Albert Pasceri, School Safety Patrol representative, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO).
CAA supports youth volunteerism through the CAA School Safety Patrol program, which began more than 80 years ago to teach students to help their classmates use the school bus and cross the road safely. Today, the safety and leadership program is stronger than ever: CAA SCO partners with over 55 police services to deliver the program which sees 20,000 students volunteering their time from over 800 schools across Ontario. To recognize the many youth who support the program, patrollers from Willow Road Public School, in Guelph, were invited to We Day by CAA SCO.
“I want to do a bake sale to help build a school,” said Lily Carraro, a Grade 7 student at Willow Road Public School who attended We Day. “The best part is being able to help out the whole community.”
“I like to make people smile, when people smile, I know I’ve done a good job volunteering,” she said.
For those who participate in We Day, many of the participants walk away from the event feeling inspired to find new ways to give back to their communities.
“We had a blast. The kids were fascinated. We’ve talked lots about the issues, and I was amazed at the conversations we had later. They learned lots and are interested in making plans to help support others,” Dianne Chadder, a teacher at Willow Road Public School and the recipient of the 2014 CAA School Safety Patrol Supervisor of the Year award.
The event brings together community leaders, celebrities and charity organizers to help inspire young people to become more involved in their communities and change the world around them.
“I want to be a volunteer, and I want to pass on volunteerism to younger kids,” said Michael Poplutz, a Grade 6 student at Willow Road Public School who also attended We Day. “It always feels good to volunteer. I felt inspired to help kids cross the street safely.”
“I really like the experience and hearing people’s volunteer stories,” Poplutz said.
After hearing the inspirational stories at We Day, Poplutz said he would like also to volunteer at an afterschool program at his elementary school.
For more information about the CAA School Safety patrol program, click here.
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