HIDDEN HEROES: Surrey students raise $11K for inclusive playground equipment

Siblings at Surrey's Green Timbers Elementary come up big as ‘magical’ idea makes inclusive swing a reality.

Surrey siblings – from left

NEWTON — The gymnasium at Surrey’s Green Timbers Elementary school erupted with applause after the Sekhon siblings told their classmates how they raised $11,000 for a meaningful project in a single night.

It’s a story of “three students who did something spectacular in order for something spectacular to happen,” said Principal John Horstead.

Ladee, 7, Kabir, 8, and Channee, 13, heard about their principal’s dream to build playground equipment that children in wheelchairs and those with disabilities could use.

The hitch? The inclusive swing he had in mind came with a price tag of $18,000 when factoring in construction costs.

And after two years of fundraising, the school had only raised about $7,000.

“This is my third year at the school and I’ve got a lot of kids who are special needs,” said Horstead. “I’ve got kids who are in wheelchairs, I’ve got kids with autism. They can’t swing on the swings like regular kids. And a lot of kids with autism need that stimulation but we can’t do anything. I said, ‘I need a piece of equipment that every kid in the school can use.’

“Over time it became more and more evident we were going to need a miracle to get that swing. The swing idea went dormant for a while… but then something magical happened.”

Thanks to the Sekhon siblings, the school now has the cash needed to build it.

Channee said they didn’t think it was fair that some kids couldn’t play, and could only watch. They brainstormed with their parents and thought about holding bottle drives or putting on car washes.

But instead, they decided to ask for donations at their father Gurjinder’s annual Sussex Insurance conference. He’s a franchisee owner in Vancouver.

They got to work putting together a power point and a speech to present together at the event.

In a few short minutes, they received thousands of dollars in donations – and Sussex matched them all.

“Some people say kids can’t change the world,” said Channee with a grin.

“I want to prove those people wrong.”

Father Gurjinder couldn’t be more proud.

“No, I was not expecting it to be honest,” he said with a smile. “The company was also very generous, they matched all the donations so that’s why we reached this number… We believe in giving back to the community in our business, that is our philosophy.”

The swing is set to be built during the school’s summer break and an official ribbon cutting is planned for the fall.

“We strive to be as inclusive as we can,” said Horstead. “Every Wednesday, the whole school gets out for some combined exercise but the kids in the wheelchairs couldn’t make it all the way around because there wasn’t a blacktop that connected with the school. So I’ve got a sensory room now, I’ve got that blacktop now that allows the kids in wheelchairs to go all the way around the school, and now I’m going to have this piece of equipment.

“This is a huge step.”


Do you know a Hidden Hero in your community? Email us at edit@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey hair salon joins sustainability initiative

Hair can be used to create boom to clean up oil spills: Green Circle Salons

White Rock breaks temperature record

B.C. city was the hottest in all of Canada

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

VIDEO: Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Most Read