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Grosvenor School is undertaking a
schoolwide humanitarian project this spring in support of Winnipeg’s homeless
The campaign, called Courage of the
Bear Cub, will see students collecting essential items like bottled water,
food, toiletries, bandages and clothing and placing them in care packages for
distribution to people living on the streets.
The care bags will be distributed
by the Bear Clan Patrol, a local organization that offers humanitarian support
and a friendly community presence in Winnipeg’s Inner City.
The project is the brainchild of Grade
3 student Malaya Cueto; her father, teacher Mario Cueto of General Wolfe
School, is an active member of the patrol and serves on its board of directors.
Malaya has been on youth patrols and ride along patrols with her father and
other Bear Clan members and has encountered people in need.
“We give care packages for those
who are in need and bring people to shelters so they have a warm place to stay,”
Malaya said. “It’s important because we’re helping others. When we’re out on
patrol, people will honk their horn as they drive by and thank us.”
Malaya came up with the idea for
the campaign after meeting a homeless person while on patrol with her father
during a frigid winter cold snap. The man had been living in a cardboard box at
the time and was not comfortable with going to a shelter.
“She came with me to bring him food
one patrol, and told me ‘Daddy, I’ve got an idea, I want to raise money for
people like John,’” Mr. Cueto said.
Malaya also wanted to raise money
to support the Bear Clan Patrol’s efforts in the Inner City, North End, West
Broadway and West End.
“It is a volunteer group, the
members do not get paid,” she said, noting that the patrols do need equipment and
supplies such as batteries, disposable protective gloves for picking up
garbage, needles and other dangerous items off the streets, as well as gasoline
for mobile crews.
Grosvenor’s student council will be
helping to organize and collect the care packages and donations. Students will
also be writing messages of support for Winnipeg’s homeless and adding them to
Prior to Spring Break, Grosvenor
invited Malaya, Mr. Cueto and James
Favel, Executive Director of the Bear Clan Patrol, to speak at a kickoff
assembly for the campaign. Olympian Clara Hughes, St. John’s MLA Nahanni
Fontaine and Point Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith also sent video messages for
“We are a non-violent, non-judgmental community safety patrol,” Mr.
Favel said. “Our mandate is to protect and empower the women, children, elderly
and all of the vulnerable members in our community.”
Mr. Favel said the Bear Clan Patrol’s purpose was to build
“We’re trying to bring back that whole village vibe we once had,
back in the day, when everybody knew their neighbor and cared about one another.
That’s what we’re trying to re-instill in our community, and everyone can be a
part of that.”
In a similar spirit, Grosvenor students also plan to carry out
smaller humanitarian and public service projects in their neighbourhood and
Winnipeg in the coming months.