Seedlings encourage kids to grow together

Community Living Fort Frances and District kicked off a new campaign this week to encourage kids to keep an open mind when it comes to people with developmental disabilities.
The “Let’s Grow Together” project has the CLFFD distributing 1,600 seedlings to students in Grades 1-8 throughout Rainy River District.
The campaign opened Tuesday with a visit to F.H. Huffman School here.
Faith Moen, volunteer co-ordinator for CLFFD, and Robyn Johnston, technology co-ordinator, visited the school Tuesday morning to give a short presentation on the program and to distribute the seedlings.
“Community Living provides services to people with developmental disabilities,” Moen explained. “We support people who do things differently to help them do the things they like to do.
“We want to promote inclusion for people with disabilities,” she added.
Moen showed the primary students a slideshow of some of the activities staff and volunteers do with their clients, including bowling, barbecues, bingos, crafts, and attending pow-wows.
She told the youngsters they could make inclusion part of their daily lives, too.
“You can include everybody in the playground or in the classroom. You can make friends with the new kid in school,” she stressed.
Following the presentation, the children were shown the white spruce seedlings they would be getting.
“The whole point of the trees is we’re trying to grow together as a community and find ways to include people with disabilities and help them to grow, too,” Moen explained.
“Every time you look at your tree, you can think of people with disabilities,” she added.
“When you plant your tree, you’re thinking about growing friendships with people who do things differently,” echoed Huffman principal Donna Kowalchuk.
CLFFD also visited J.W. Walker School Tuesday afternoon, and will be visiting Robert Moore on Friday.
The 1,600 seedlings were donated by PRT Dryden Nursery and were packaged by a group of volunteers.