We are constantly humbled, but never surprised, by the generosity and thoughtfulness of children in Waterloo Region. Their kind gestures convey hearts full of empathy and hands full of energy that will hopefully stay with them for years to come. The leaders of tomorrow are showing that they care for the community in so many ways.

Children are often given opportunities through their schools to organize diaper drives, clothing and toy drives, and even “Toiletry Tuesdays”- all of which Women’s Crisis Services has been a lucky recipient. As we visit schools, the children are inspiring and they want to lend their help to load up our cars and ensure all of the items make it to the people in our shelters.

The “Me 2 We” initiative locally has also inspired children and youth to be a part of something that changes lives. Students learn about services and organizations that serve others; internationally, nationally and locally. Large celebrations and media attention has helped to educate the global community about this important movement sweeping into the classrooms. Local students have chosen Anselma House and Haven House as their charity of interest and the support generated not only fills our shelves, but our hearts as well. The students educate eachother about our services and the need for support. They are great advocates and we are proud to be associated with them.

Instead of birthday presents, one of our “kids who care” asked for diapers for Anselma House!

We were very lucky to meet some very special children this year who decided to give back to us instead of getting birthday presents.  This is a truly selfless act. Whatever their motivation, they have set an amazing example for other children in their class to follow. They are leaders and are forward thinking, even at their tender age.

 Often, talking to children about abuse and violence is diffcult to do with children.  But offering them a way tomake a change does make it easier for them to understand that they can be a part of helping their classmates, teammates and friends.

Christmas was a wonderful time for childrent to show their intiative. Even on Christmas Day we had visits from children who decided to donate their extra gift cards, gifts, and snacks, to the women and children that live in the shelters.

We also had the pleasure of working with several groups of high school students who are involved in YPI- Youth Philanthropy Initiative http://www.goypi.org/ that engages young people in social change.  The students participate in learning about the charity, its services, and its greatest need. They then present their projects to their peers and a panel of judges. Their hard work gets rewarded if they are chosen as the winner and a $5000 prize is given to their charity of choice.  Local students did such a great job that we received two of these prizes for Haven House!

Small gestures, large gestures and educating eachother, the kids in Waterloo Region are leading by example. They are lifting the spirits of those in shelter and showing them that little hearts and hands make a big difference.