Breakfast Club volunteering: A family affair

Last year was a biggie for our family: our only son, Cameron, started full-time Pre-K at St. Jude Elementary on the South Shore of Montreal. The bean adjusted beautifully and made friends with his little classmates, but it wasn’t until we decided to start volunteering for our school’s Breakfast Club that we really found ourselves becoming attached to our school.

It started as a one-morning thing, just to try it out. I’d wanted to find a way to volunteer at my son’s school, hopefully with him, so he could give back a little. And, given we were morning people, serving breakfast seemed like the perfect activity.

Meeting extraordinary people

When we arrived, we saw who was running the program: five selfless women, all with grown children who were no longer in elementary school, as well as a few teenagers, who together were feeding almost 200 kids. One of the adult volunteers was in her eighties, standing on her feet (by choice) to serve the juice and milk. There was another woman who kept the breakfast bin-filling – for the children who arrived just in time for school and ate in their classroom – right on schedule, and she always had an amazing group of older Grade 6 volunteers, who came into school early to help. There was even a teenager who was in high school and had attended our school a few years prior – he came to St. Jude as often as he could to help with Breakfast Club before catching his bus to start his busy day at Centennial High School. The program was spearheaded by yet another selfless woman, who had been at the heart of the school for decades. All of these incredible people made it possible for so many kids to start off their days with a healthy, filling breakfast (not to mention the smiles they received as they conversed with the volunteers they had all grown to love).

By getting involved, everyone wins … Especially us!

We were hooked. Even though we were late in the school year (it was April), for three months we went to Breakfast Club every morning. My son gained tremendous confidence getting to know the kids at his school, particularly the older ones he began to befriend, and I loved the hugs and smiles I got every morning as we handed out yogurt, fruit, bagels, eggs, pancakes, and more. This summer, all we talked about was how much we missed Breakfast Club, and we have loved being a part of the group again this school year.

Cameron, 5 years old

Breakfast Club also got my son excited to give back in other ways by getting involved in different philanthropic activities, such as fundraising for a few causes that are important to him, and signing petitions to help save his favourite animals: sharks! Keep in mind, Cameron is only five years old. It just goes to show that there is no age limit to giving back!

Children helping other children

Breakfast Club is so special to us. It gave us a way to give back to our school, and to feel connected to our student body as well as the teachers and staff. And it sparked something within my son to give to others, to find even small ways to help those in need and become active in our community. And nothing feels better than giving kids a great start to their day.

The other morning a child asked Cameron, “Why are you always working here?” And he replied, “I’m not working. This isn’t work. I’m helping. It’s important to help.” To which the child replied, “Can I help too?”  Kids inspiring kids… isn’t that what it’s all about?

Jennifer Cox

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Do you want to do your part for the Club?
To learn more about volunteering at a school, click here.
To learn more about different ways to give, click here.
Remember: $ 1 = 1 breakfast. All donations make a difference!

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