Learn­ing about pen­nies

St. Joseph’s makes do­na­tion to youth cen­tre

Cape Breton Post - - Northside/Cape Breton - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church found a home for buck­ets of pen­nies re­cently do­nated to the church and ear­marked for a worth­while cause.

“When the folks at St. Joseph’s con­tacted us to see if we would be in­ter­ested, we jumped at the of­fer,” said Clif­ford Street Youth Cen­tre vol­un­teer Paul Ratch­ford. “Not only does it help us fi­nan­cially. But re­al­is­ti­cally, most of our kids are younger and so they’ve never re­ally seen pen­nies.”

Fit­tingly named “Pen­nies From Heaven,” the youth cen­tre vol­un­teers and summer staff used the do­na­tion as an op­por­tu­nity to help the young­sters learn the value of money, prac­tise count­ing and learn how to roll change.

“The kids had an ab­so­lute blast count­ing and rolling the pen­nies,” Ratch­ford said. “They were help­ing each other get the job done, so it was also a team ef­fort.”

The youth cen­tre will use a por­tion of the money, es­ti­mated at $150, to pur­chase some­thing for all the par­tic­i­pants.

“It’s all about the kids, that’s why we are here,” Ratch­ford said. “We’ll also use some (of the money) to get the kids a treat whether it’s a pizza or McHappy meal — we’ll let them de­cide.”

Ratch­ford en­cour­ages any in­di­vid­u­als or or­ga­ni­za­tions that have pen­nies stored away to con­sider do­nat­ing them to the youth cen­tre.

“There are prob­a­bly loads of pen­nies that are tucked away in draw­ers or in jars be­ing used as doorstops. Don’t worry about rolling them, our kids will gladly look af­ter that and we will cer­tainly find a good use for them.”

The youth cen­tre, lo­cated at 50 Clif­ford St., North Syd­ney, does not re­ceive fund­ing and with the ex­cep­tion of stu­dents em­ployed us­ing grant money, is run en­tirely by vol­un­teers.

Since it opened its doors, the youth cen­tre has catered to a mix of ages, from preschool­ers to teens, many who re­turn to the cen­tre as vol­un­teers.

“We are for­tu­nate to be able to hire staff through var­i­ous grants and truly do ap­pre­ci­ate that kind of sup­port,” Ratch­ford said. “We con­tinue to open af­ter school each day due to gen­er­ous do­na­tions from the Ro­tary Club of North Syd­ney and the North­side Ki­wa­nis Golden K Club, along with other in­di­vid­ual do­na­tions.”

The youth cen­tre is open af­ter school Mon­day to Fri­day, and on week­ends when there are spe­cial events.

The cen­tre av­er­ages be­tween 20 and 30 kids dur­ing the summer months and 30-plus dur­ing the win­ter.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

From left, par­tic­i­pants Maddy Nichol, Shan­non Fuller, vol­un­teer Ka­t­rina Eyk­ing, staff Shan­non Squarey, vol­un­teer Dy­lan Parks and par­tic­i­pants An­gus Dono­van, Mya Ho­gan and Cait­lynn Fuller get busy rolling pen­nies do­nated to the Clif­ford Street Youth Cen­tre by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in North Syd­ney.

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