When the Houghton Public School Parent Council set out to improve the school grounds, the group
didn’t have much money, but members did have a clear goal and a devotion to making their school
better. Together, they turned that passion into an amazing Harvest Dinner and Auction that attracted
more than 500 participants. The fundraiser, which brought together parents, students, and teachers as
well as the greater community, earned the group well over $20000 with their one event.
The Parent Council’s efforts to revitalize the school grounds began in spring 2014, when the playground
was deemed unsafe for student use. The parent council recruited more than 100 volunteers to build and
create their first ever Harvest Dinner and Auction. After the great success of the first Harvest Dinner, the
Houghton Parent Council leaders knew they had to do something big to follow it up. “People were a lot
more enthusiastic after they saw what we had done this year,” says Lisa Friesen a parent council
Principal Crotta says the fundraiser has brought together the community, parents, students and staff in
creating that cleaner, and more welcoming outdoor environment. But the benefits go beyond improving
the appearance of the school grounds: The sense of accomplishment and belonging that students got
from the fundraiser translated into pride in attending Houghton Public School, he says. The fundraiser
also demonstrated an important lesson to students: how much a group of dedicated volunteers can
accomplish. “Hopefully, they’ll give back to their community as adults”.