Above: From left to right, Izzie Green, Educational Assistant Jo-Anne Campbell, Lex Street, Jacob Potts, Nick Kraemer, Teacher Naudia Draus, Zachery Van Every, Broden Carpenter, and Diccion Davidson

Tollgate Special Education Class Celebrates Season of Giving

Students in Naudia Draus’ Special Education classroom are part of a longstanding tradition of giving back during the holiday season. Each year, the Tollgate Technological Skills Centre class brainstorms ways they can have a positive impact on the world around them. Past years have seen globally minded efforts, such as raising funds to support wildlife rescue efforts during the wildfires in Australia, to collecting donations for the local food bank to support individuals in their own community. This year, with the Covid-19 pandemic on everyone’s minds, the class, which also includes Educational Assistant Jo-Anne Campbell, wanted to help ease some of the pressures on the city’s health care system. 

“This year, we decided to do a fundraiser that would directly help our community by raising funds for Brantford General Hospital’s Covid-19 relief fund, which helps purchase vital supplies,” explains Draus, who says she and Campbell both work to instill a pay-it-forward attitude in the classroom. “There is so much need in our world, and we feel it’s important we all do our part to look after each other.” 

The class began a 10-day fundraiser at the beginning of December, and last week announced they’d raised a total of $406.80 to donate to the hospital foundation. Since needs can change very quickly for hospitals as they deal with the pandemic, donations have an immediate impact, and help support those on the frontlines protecting the community and minimizing the spread of Covid-19 as they navigate this unprecedented time.  

“We thank everyone who donated – it means a lot to our class,” said student Izzie Green. 

It’s also an effort that supports Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, fostering and celebrating inclusive school communities, and promoting student well-being. 

“For students, it’s empowering to know there’s a way to help,” said Campbell. “Especially during such a difficult time, it feels good to give back.”   

Photos by Grand Erie Communications

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