June 24, 2024

Fresh approach to student wellness.

PRINCE ALBERT — St. Michael Community School is putting work in on improving engagement and nutrition.

The school recently received a grant of $20,000 from the Our Lady of the Prairies Foundation to support the Cultivating Connections program for the 2023-2024 school year.

The board of education received an update on the grant application from Superintendent Robert Tessier during the board’s final meeting of 2023 on Monday.  

Cultivating Connections focuses on supporting attending extracurricular events, receiving nutritious snacks and providing school-wide engagement meals. Tessier said they wanted assistance in providing afternoon snacks for students, and this grant will help them do that.

“A lot of students don’t necessarily bring snack items for the afternoon, things like that,” he explained. “They do have lunch and we have some participate in the emergency lunch program, but they don’t necessarily have an afternoon snack. They wanted to look into if there was funding that they could purchase and provide some of that.”

The parental engagement meals involve bringing parents into the school to eat with students. Tessier said the goal was to create family-friendly activities, and meals are a good way to do that.

“Food always brings families to schools,” he explained. “They (St. Michael) wanted to look at those family engagement meals that they’d be able to offer at different times during the school year.”

The grant also helps provide transportation for extracurricular activities.

“It’s just fair that the students get to participate in all these activities,” Tessier explained. “Transportation is often a barrier to get our kids at certain events, and this grant helps us take care of that.”

Tessier said it was great work by administration to find this grant.

“They were successful in getting some significant funding,” he said.

Tessier added that partnerships like Feeding Our Futures also helped the school. There are plans to recognize Feeding Our Futures at an upcoming meeting.

The Our Lady of the Prairies Foundation was established by James Peter Leier in 1956 but the seeds of the mission came from his parents leaving Odessa to homestead in Saskatchewan

Leier established a foundation that would support people, programs and projects that addressed the challenges and varied needs of society, a foundation that had faith and spirit in the goodwill of the community.

The foundation mission for over 60 years was born from the faith of its founder – ‘to nurture love and compassion for all creation.’

Because the Prince Albert Catholic School Division is a registered charity it is eligible to apply for the grant.

Cultivating Connections focuses on supporting attending extracurricular events, receiving nutritious snacks and providing school-wide engagement meals.

Trustees Crystal Halliday and Pat Hordyski both noted that the engagement meals have been very successful in getting parents engaged in school activities.

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