SURREY â€” Nearly 600 preschoolers from Surrey banded together with the Union Gospel Mission to help families in need this holiday season.
Kids from the Wind and Tides Schools â€” a group of 30 preschools and child development centres, 15 of which are in Surrey â€” lent a hand to provide needed food items and handpicked gifts for 56 low-income families in a program run by UGM.
â€œIt is quite amazing to witness the students experiencing the joy of giving to those in need,â€ said Suzie Warneke, director at Wind and Tides Schools.
â€œAt age three and four, these children understand this. They see the importance of teamwork and how together they can make a difference.â€
Gifts of Hope began in 2007 when Wind & Tide Schools partnered with UGM. It started out as Christmas stockings for the less fortunate and became an annual toy drive for kids. Soon, the preschools saw its success and decided to supply entire hampers to low-income families through the charity.
â€œChristmastime is when we really focus ourselves locally for charitable giving,â€ said Rachel Cram, director of Wind and Tides Schools, noting that the schools also do overseas philanthropy in the spring.
â€œThe Wind and Tides families have just been so amazingly generous in their response,â€ she said.
When asked why the school feels itâ€™s important to instill a sense of charity and giving back, Cram said that the spirit of giving comes naturally to children and providing the means to do so was emphatic for the schools.
â€œI think kids just give so naturally and easily, and really what we just need to do is provide the opportunity for them to do that,â€ Cram told the Now.
â€œItâ€™s a documented understanding that your most influential period of your life is before you turn six. Research shows that 90 per cent of your values and attitudes and beliefs are established by the time youâ€™re six-years-old. When weâ€™re working with children in that highly influential period of their life, this is when you want to teach them those kinds of values so that they can go on to make that difference when they grow older.â€