Three ways to help the com­mu­nity

Teach­ers get stu­dents to give back with acts of kind­ness

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - NEWS - He­len Pike Metro | Cal­gary

Sit­ting in a Tim Hor­tons by the win­dow with a clear view of the drive-thru, Leona Exelby and Tracy Ko­sack ad­mire their hand­i­work.

While the pair is known through­out their com­mu­nity for their skilled ap­proach to car­ing for ram­bunc­tious twoyear-olds, Vil­lage Square Leisure Cen­tre playschool is now be­ing rec­og­nized by par­ents, and their sur­round­ing com­mu­nity, for a whole new rea­son.

As a cus­tomer pulls up to the pickup win­dow to grab their cof­fee and treats, they re­al­ize that some­one has al­ready paid — and that’s the mo­ment both Exelby and Ko­sack get giddy about.

Pay­ing it for­ward at the com­mu­nity wa­ter­ing hole is only one of the three things this pair has done so far this year: They’ve put a spin on Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi’s three things for Canada and called the ini­tia­tive Three Things for the Prop­er­ties.

“I live in the com­mu­nity, I see every­body and I felt like I wanted to give back,” Exelby says.

The prop­er­ties are four com­mu­ni­ties that sur­round Vil­lage Square: Piner­idge, Run­dle, Tem­ple and White­horn.

Ko­sack said it started with a speech the mayor gave in Septem­ber and kicked off from there. Their first act was hav­ing their classes hand out flow­ers to the spe­cial needs pop­u­la­tion in and around Vil­lage Square.

“It’s beau­ti­ful,” said Snanna Virk, who has a daugh­ter in the preschool class. She ex­plained that her daugh­ter helped with the Valen­tine’s day flow­ers. “The kids loved it...as adults we say that some­one has spe­cial needs but (my daugh­ter) the week af­ter was walk­ing up the stairs and she said ‘momma look, that’s my friend’ and it was the guy she gave flow­ers to.”

She said it brought tears to her eyes that her daugh­ter learned to treat some­one she sim­ply gave a flower to one day as a friend, and not some­one who is dif­fer­ent.

Next, they gave books to kids in the com­mu­nity, to pro­mote lit­er­acy be­fore set­ting up a sur­prise for cof­fee lovers at the lo­cal Tim’s on Fri­day. All of their ef­forts were made pos­si­ble through com­mu­nity grant ap­pli­ca­tions they com­pleted funded through the City of Cal­gary and now United Way for the Piner­idge, Run­dle, Tem­ple and White­horn ar­eas.

Al­though they’ve done their three things, there’s no telling if the pair will stop giv­ing back and show­ing oth­ers how to.

“We want to en­cour­age these chil­dren to do things that maybe they don’t know they can do,” Ko­sack said.

left, and Leona Exelby hold up Tim Hor­tons cups with a sticker that reads 3 Things for the Prop­er­ties, Pay it for­ward.

HE­LEn PikE/METro

Tracy Ko­sack,

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