In a world that feels anything but normal, we strive for normal. We look ahead in the calendar for things to get excited about. So many have Christmas circled on the calendar. But for many Christmas is not something to be looked forward to. It’s not a time of joy, family, big meals, and happiness.
Since 1984 the students and staff of Father Mercredi High School have been working tirelessly to make sure that Christmas is a good memory for all children in Fort McMurray.
As teenagers work on a social justice program, learn from the less fortunate, and gain lived servant leadership experience- they also feel the joy of helping others in our own community.
Jennifer Pope is the teacher lead for Santas Anonymous and says this is an important year for the program, “This community has been through a lot in recent years and, as a result, all non-profits are seeing high need. The children in this community are our priority. Christmas is supposed to be a magical time for them. We want to put a smile on their faces.”
Each year there is a group of grade 12 students who have the honour of being selected as the Head Leaders for Santas Anonymous. This group dedicates themselves to make sure that Christmas is a special memory, and that the large operation of Santas Anonymous runs smoothly. This is a student led organization.
Head Leader Liam Bartlett it’s about being part of something bigger, “The reason I wanted to get involved with Santas Anonymous was the community aspect and the opportunity to give back in a time of great need. I first got involved with Santas Anonymous with the football team helping unload the sea-can. Since then I have expanded on my role in Santas by first applying and being accepted for an assistant head leader and then eventually this year becoming a head leader.”
For Breagh Dunn Santas Anonymous has been a part of her life for years, “It is a Christmas tradition for my family. When I was younger, I would always go and pack hampers during packing week with my family, which is how I found out about Santas. When I got to Merc, I volunteered on teams until grade 11, which is when I took on a greater leadership role of an Assistant Head leadership. Santas Anonymous is an integral part of the community and is so important, as it brings us together and helps so many deserving families have a good Christmas.”
For many of our Head Leaders they began their involvement with Santas Anonymous when they first came to Father Mercredi High School in grade 7. Head Leader Kyle Morin is no exception, “Santas Anonymous is an organization in which the students and staff at Father Merc are very proud. Around Christmas time everyone helps out in whatever way possible to allow the execution of the program. Starting from grade 7, I would go every year to help out, seeking a higher leadership role as I became older. Santas goal is to aid others with regards to Christmas expenses and ease stress during tough times. We create happiness where happiness is needed which has an immense impact on individuals lives.
Santas Anonymous is a very large student led organization. And this year truly will be a year like no other when it comes to fundraising efforts. Please reach out to Santas Anonymous at Father Mercredi High School if you are able to help out the campaign this year. We are all part of Santas Anonymous.
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