It’s important for our Blyth Academy students to learn the importance of giving back to their communities and helping those in need throughout the school year, and especially during the holiday season. All 9 of our campuses have been doing their part with the support of our staff and students, and even the Blyth head office! We are so proud of our students and staff, and we thought we’d share with you the wonderful things they’ve done to give back.

Blyth Academy Burlington did a food drive followed by a winter clothing drive for The Compassion Society in Burlington. We are also doing a drive for used hockey equipment to donate to a team that cannot afford to buy equipment – Pioneer Park Panthers.

The staff (and a couple of parents) have participated in 2 clinics for Canadian Blood Services. We have collected 18 donations to date. We are attempting to get the students and parents involved in our Partners for Life program.

The staff has also given generously to Children of Christmas Past. This is a local charity that makes sure lonely seniors, mostly in long term care, receive some Christmas cheer by delivering gifts for all. We chose several gift tags, and shopped for a blanket for Josephine; Christmas plant for Joyce; a box of chocolates for William; notecards and stamps for Ada; body wash & lotion for Aileen,

Blyth Academy Lawrence Park Foundations class organized a food drive and will donating proceeds to a local food bank. Also, the Student Council had two initiatives this week – Candy Cane Grams with proceeds going to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, and a PJ day with book/PJ/cash donations going to the North York Women’s Shelter.

 

Blyth Academy London high school students have taken on two projects this Christmas season. The first project was making packages to send to the Men’s Mission, London’s shelter for the homeless. Our elementary students collected over 80 items, from shampoo to body wash, to make up these hygienic kits. The student council organized a bazaar where students and teachers made crafts and baked goods to sell. Our elementary students created and sold Christmas cards. There was also a raffle prize of London Knights memorabilia that was generously donated by the coaches and players of the London Knights. In total, the students raised approximately $600, which allowed them to make a large amount of packages for the mission. Our Blyth parents also generously donated goods, time and made purchases including student photos in support of this initiative.

The students have also been participating in the SCROOGE campaign (a canned food collection). The school as a whole has managed to collect 419 cans. The food was taken to the London Food Bank on Wednesday, the 18th so that it is ready for families to enjoy a Christmas dinner.

Blyth Academy Ottawa is participating in a World Vision 30 Hour Famine. Students will be raising a minimum of $25 each which will be dedicated to the Typhoon relief fund for the Philippines. Students will spend Thursday night at school, giving up either technology or food for 30 hours.  More than half of our students participated in the event.

Since September, Blyth Academy Port Credit has participated in a food drive for the Mississauga food bank, Hockey raffle ticket sales (Hamilton Bulldogs) for the Philippines fund, a winter coat drive for St. Vincent de Paul, and the Ginger bread house for the SCARF fund at the Mississauga Animal Hospital. We will be hopefully be doing the change drive in the upcoming year as well, in which campuses compete to collect change, with the winner selecting their charity of choice.

Blyth Academy Thornhill‘s Foundation Program students are accepting donations on behalf of both the Boys and Girls Clubs, and the North York Harvest Food Bank, this holiday season. We collected and donated a large box of toys for children aged 6 to 12 years old (boy or girl) with a maximum value of $15. These were dropped off last week by one of our students who volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club. We are continuing to collect food bank donations through this week. We have 3 large boxes of items which will only grow by the end of the week! We give so that children and families everywhere may have a pleasant and joyous holiday.

Blyth Academy Whitby is giving back in two ways this holiday season. Student Council has been running a toy drive with an emphasis on gifts for teens. These gifts will be donated to the Salvation Army Toy Mountain tomorrow.

This morning, our Elementary and Foundation Years students purchased elf hats or Christmas stockings to decorate and take home. The money from this venture is being used to purchase gifts for local seniors in need.

Blyth Academy Yorkville grade tens in our foundations program have raised $120 for Sick Kids Hospital, and $200 for Paws, a no-kill animal shelter in the month of December!

Blyth Education Head Office is helping Make a Wish come true this holiday season. Starting on Giving Tuesday, to honour the spirit of the season, we started supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada in their Seasons of Wishes campaign. The mission of Make-A-Wish® Canada is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

Along with the national office, eight regional chapters grant magical wishes to children in need from coast-to-coast. Make-A-Wish has made dreams and wishes come true for more than 310,000 children since 1980.

To support this important organization, we came up with a fun and festive way to raise money. We were able to symbolically sponsor a child’s wish (or parts of their wish) by purchasing decorations and placing them on the tree in our reception area. We could also read the matching story of a child that has already been granted their wish, and see just how important Make-A-Wish is in giving hope, strength and joy to thousands of children every year.

Though our physical doors remain temporarily closed, the minds of our students stay open. Summer classes are continuing to meet on their regular daily schedules, in virtual classrooms with face-to-face instruction and peer interaction.  The Blyth Academy model of small class sizes, flexible scheduling and individualized approach have enabled us to remain faithful to our standards. Our commitment to ongoing and meaningful communication between school, teachers, students and families has been critical to this effort.

Although our students have transitioned into summer mode and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen, we are looking ahead to what September will hold for our campuses and families.
We want to be clear - our preference and our priority is to get students back to our campuses, but we must ensure this is done in a safe and effective way. While we await official guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, a "return to school" task force has been hard at work putting concrete operational plans in place for all likely scenarios. This includes a full return to campus with safeguards, a blended model of virtual and in-campus learning and the continuation of fully virtual classrooms. All scenarios will provide robust learning and live, daily instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. 
With ten campuses across Ontario, we realize that each one of our schools is a unique space and community. We will be implementing across-the-board policies on hand washing, facility cleaning and social distancing measures. Each school is also prepared to pivot individually based on the guidance of local health authorities and to best serve students and families. 
Our recent survey showed that over 80 per cent of Blyth Academy families are eager to return to campuses, and we are hard at work to prepare for this day. As September's scenario becomes clearer and more information becomes available, we will continue to communicate. 

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