Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids - Ziyana Kotadia for FFCA HS Student Union
Trust, people, and action.
These are the core values at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, the values that the organization strives to embody. It is though trust – trusting partners, community groups, and each other; people – building positive relationships with and for the community; and action – bringing their ideals into reality to affect actual change– that Brown Bagging operates. These are the values that give them a purpose, the values that remind them of why they do what they do.
These are values that the FFCA High School’s Student Union has in common with them.
Student Union works hard to create engaging events, initiatives and programs for the student body to enjoy over the course of the year. We run school dances, carnivals, Free Phelix games, career events – but beyond all of that, we see our purpose as building a school community where everyone feels they belong and are appreciated. We believe in the value of individual experience, in making meaningful connections with each and every student to help enhance their high school experience.
At Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, they also believe in the value of the individual, and in the process of connecting with individuals through the larger program of delivering healthy lunches to children who are otherwise unable to afford them. They believe in dedication, hard work, and community just as much as our Student Union does.
As such, it seems only natural that our paths would cross.
On Friday, March 23rd and Friday, April 20th, our Student Union members came back from volunteering at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, smiles dancing over their faces from having spent the day in such inspirational company, doing such meaningful work. We had been working with the staff to make lunches for kids (many of whom would have no lunch at all without this program) by baking, cutting up fruits, bagging the lunches, and more. Volunteering at Brown Bagging was a learning experiences for our team; though we’ve done service projects together before, there was something decidedly different about this particular project. For many of us, this was the first time that volunteering became meaningful for us, and hearing the stories of the families that the organization was helping really grounded us in the truth that our work was going to have real impact for so many kids in our city.
This went beyond being an eye-opening experience for us – it was heart-opening.
Our Student Union members are so grateful for this opportunity, and we wanted to express what it meant to us by sharing some of our thoughts and takeaways from the experience:
“The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of real people was absolutely unforgettable. It was an experience that reminded me how important it is to take action when you believe in a cause – and to go about doing it with a group of people I already love and trust made it that much more of a fulfilling experience for me.”
“My experience with Brown Bagging has really opened my eyes to different situations people might be in, and has helped me to be grateful for what I have.”
“The one thing that stuck with me the most after volunteering was this story of a little boy; he brought vanilla cake mix to school with the intention of eating it at lunch, because there was just nothing else in his pantry that he could eat. It made me realize how lucky we all are, and how we’re taking what we have for granted every time we complain about having ‘nothing to eat’.”
“Brown Bagging was truly a heartwarming experience. Knowing that you are making a difference is just an amazing feeling.”
“It’s been a fulfilling experience that allowed us to see the direct impact of our volunteering work in our local community.”
“For me… just knowing that you helped someone is the best feeling ever – especially knowing our school helped about 1000 children.”
“The Brown Bagging organization is an amazing way to help those who need it… I really loved the kind and caring atmosphere there, and I learned a lot about having an open hand and an open heart. I hope this is something we continue to do in years to come!”
“There’s a certain uplifting feeling about knowing that the work you do benefits children all around the city, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of such a meaningful initiative.”
“We got to see just how many kids need our help and how this organization was helping them. It really warmed my heart to meet the staff and volunteers, and hear their stories about the children and families that Brown Bagging was able to help.”
”It’s been incredible to work together as a trusting, collaborative team on something so important, and to know we’re actually making a difference in the lives of real people is an amazing feeling. I’m so grateful to have volunteered at a place that takes action to create a positive impact in our city.”
Trust, people, and action.
These are the core values at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, the values that the organization strives to embody. It is though trust – trusting partners, community groups, and each other; people – building positive relationships with and for the community; and action – bringing their ideals into reality to affect actual change– that Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids operates. These are the values that give them a purpose, the values that remind them of why they do what they do.
These are values that Student Union has always believed in – but now, they have become so much more meaningful for us. This goes beyond being a ‘once-off volunteering experience’; for us, it has fundamentally changed the way we want to make our own difference in the FFCA school community.
This has been an unforgettable and irrevocably meaningful experience for our team, and because of this, we’re grateful to be able to share it with all of you.
Ziyana Kotadia, Grade 12 Secretary to School Impact