Griffiths-Scott School Cranes Supporting Orphans


    “Since the tsunami of 2011 that hit Japan, our students have been working at ways they can lend support to the orphans left behind,” describes Gary Hill, Academic Counselor, LST/Intervention Specialist, Griffiths-Scott Middle School. “This year students undertook a walk to continue to raise funds & awareness for the children orphaned by the Tohoku Tsunami disaster.”  During the months of January, February and part of March, students at Griffiths-Scott Middle School participated in the ‘30 kilometer Walk for Ashinaga’  on a course that was set through the hallway of the school. The distance of the inner hallway is just over 95 meters, meaning that the students had to walk the hallway eleven (11) times for every kilometer; for a total of 330 passes through the hallway to complete the 30 kms.

Hill describes the charitable cause; “Ashinaga (ashee-nah-gha) is a non-profit education organization headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Since its founding in 1969, more than 80,000 orphans have been supported both financially and emotionally from the Ashinaga scholarship. The organization has two main jobs; one is to provide financial support to children who have lost either one or both parents due to illness, accident, disaster or war. The other is to provide psychological and emotional support to those children. 
    During the 40-plus years of its existence in Japan, Ashinaga has provided over $800 million in educational aid for some 80,000 students in Japan and over 400 children from 31 countries/regions outside Japan. The vast majority of the organization’s funding comes from ordinary members of the world’s community and over 90% of the donations to support the organization’s programs and services. As a result of the 2011 tsunami, the largest number of children at a single time was left orphaned, requiring immediate and continuous assistance in care and support.”
    Each day the students participated in the walk they recorded their distance and added that day’s portion to their total accumulated distance .The students that took part had collected pledges and when they completed the 30 kilometers, they brought their money to the school to add to the fundraising efforts. The fundraising campaign totaled over $2000; money the students know will be effectively used to help others less fortunate then themselves.
    But the students didn’t stop there. During free time - lunch hours, breaks and recess - they made 1000 paper cranes that will be displayed and sold at a spring fashion show that will be held on Mother’s Day, May 12th in Edmonton at Maggie Walt Design, 11217 Jasper Avenue. The cranes are made of a special paper that has been folded in a specific manner and strung together to form long chains. The cranes will be sold for $1.00 each and that money will be added to the funds already collected from the ‘30 km Walk for Ashinaga’.
    “Thousand origami cranes is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes (tsuru) held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. This makes them popular gifts for special friends and family. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years.  That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand_origami_cranes.”
    “Once the funds have been totaled a cheque will be presented to Ms. Smith (our art teacher) who will then have the money converted in yen (Japanese currency) and then sent off to the Ashinaga Non-Profit Organization. As our school is a UNESCO/Aspnet school, our focus is on world issues. Through our activities and international focus, we, along with Ashinaga, believe that our world is facing an era of dramatic change and transformation. Together, we earnestly hope that mutual compassion and the solidarity of heart joined through shared grief and sorrow will lead to a future where we build a more peaceful and safer global community.”
    Griffiths-Scott Middle School is home to approximately 185 students in Grades 5 to 9. Students completing grade 9 are bussed to Wetaskiwin Composite High School to complete their public school education.  The school is located in the Town of Millet and draws students from the surrounding acreage developments and agricultural community as well as the town. In the 1980's the community experienced steady growth due to changing job markets and fluctuations in economics. As a result, large numbers of our parents commute to business centers north and south of Millet. 
Griffiths-Scott Middle School staff and students are to be commended for their ongoing support and consideration for others. For more information contact Mr. Gary Hill or Mr. Frank Heinrichs, Principal at 780 387 4101.

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