One solitary dove adorns the wall of Braeside School’s gymnasium, with a street sign above it directing the viewer to follow the bird to a place of hope.
That hope is what the Alex Youth Health Centre brings to every young person who walks through its doors, and what students and staff at Braeside School are raising money to ensure.
Students and staff at the school have made “the Alex” their pet charity and have donated their art to an art expo to try to generate money and awareness for the centre.
For staff, it is just as much about teaching the young kids to be active members of the community as raising money for the centre.
“They get an understanding of issues in our community — that sometimes youth don’t have a choice,” said Darryl Todos, the teacher who organized the auction. “Truly the only way to impact our own character is by helping others.”
Todos’ second-grade bridges class did a unit on homelessness in which they connected with the centre.
As a class project, they created a book out of the life stories of youth the Alex has helped in the past.
Their paintings at the auction each represent one chapter in a youth’s life, and one chapter in their book.
“These are real live people, so are we, and we should try to help them out the best we can using our gifts,” said Ben Lee, a teacher at Braeside.
“It teaches them that it’s not the end of the road when problems hit; we can always pick ourselves up.”
Danene Lenspra from the Alex said they’re touched by their generosity.
“Kids who aren’t homeless helping kids who are is very special.”