Doing their part for a healthy start

The MRSB Admin Team's long-standing committment to St. Jean Elementary school

In December 2012 a group of more than 40 students crowded into the gym at St. Jean Elementary for Christmas dinner. With diverse backgrounds, several of the students had never tasted turkey before, let alone stuffing or cranberry sauce. 

One young boy with a rambunctious spirit was particularly impressed with the new flavours on his plate. Standing up among his peers, who were still intently focused on eating, he shouted, “I like it!”

“I’ll never forget that,” says Kathryn Mills, HR Manager at MRSB Group. She and the rest of the administrative team have been taking part in the St. Jean Breakfast Program for more than two years. She says many of the students who come are receiving a much-needed healthy start to their day.

“A bus shows up and boom, you’ve got all these kids in front of you. For a child who (otherwise) may not get any breakfast, it’s awesome.” 

It all started in September 2011, when Mills and the rest of the ‘Admin Team’ decided to take on a cause that they could get involved in together throughout the year. Soon after the team began their morning shifts at the school.

When it came time for a new playground to be built in May 2012, the whole Admin Team got involved, along with volunteers from the local community. Apart from helping to put together the actual equipment, staff provided security at the site, helped paint both inside and out, and served lunch to the volunteers. By the end of that day St. Jean had a sparkling new playground where kids could jump, swing and stay active in a safe environment.

Mills and the team also helped raise funds for the new playground equipment through various activities held at the MRSB office. “We collected pennies, knitted rabbits and chickens to sell for Easter...all kinds of little things to raise money,” says Kathryn.

When asked about what it means to have the opportunity to help these students, Mills says the rewards can’t be measured. “It gives you inspiration to do what you do.”

She and other members of the admin team will sometimes pick up a few things to take to the school, food items they know the kids will appreciate. “You’ll pick up a package of cinnamon, some cheese or cream cheese...whatever you feel like doing or that may be on sale.”

Their latest pet project with St. Jean has been to start raising funds so that the school can purchase further copies of an online literacy program that helps teachers to track students’ reading habits both inside and outside the classroom.

Now approaching three years in their involvement at St. Jean’s, Kathryn says she and the MRSB Admin Team will keep it going into 2015. “Yes, we’ve totally bought into it, it’s wonderful.”