Nulah Angus, left, Clo-Belle Kabeera and Amary Joslyn made dozens of bracelets and sold them to classmates to raise $85 for the Angel Foundation. Photo by Michael Swan

Young students put their bracelet-making skills to work for Angel Foundation

By 
  • June 13, 2019

Three girls, a lot of elastic bands, a stack of coloured paper and a lot of love went into raising $85 for the Angel Foundation at Toronto’s St. Joachim’s Catholic School.

“We love it,” Angel Foundation for Learning executive director John Yan told The Catholic Register. “Obviously, it’s not a lot of money. But it’s the love.”

Eleven-year-old Grade 5 student Amary Joslyn gathered her friends, 10-year-old Clo-Belle Kabeera and 10-year-old Nylah Angus, to put their talent to work for a good cause. All three girls are enthusiastic weavers of bracelets. They make them from all kinds of materials, sometimes using a craft kit (the Rainbow Loom) popular among young bracelet enthusiasts, but often weaving them freehand to execute particular designs.

Both Clo-Belle and Nylah enthusiastically acknowledge that Amary is the best bracelet weaver they know. “I started when I was five,” Amary said.

The girls bugged their principal, Nicole Peres, for two weeks to get permission to raise money with bracelets. They needed a place to work and official endorsement to sell their bracelets. Peres wanted to be sure they had their teacher’s support. 

In the end, Peres agreed. The principal saw the bracelet fund raiser was perfectly in line with what a Catholic school stands for.

“Our Catholic values are embedded in Christ’s actions. And His actions are to be charitable to the poor,” Peres said. “That is what we do here.”

In fact, the tiny school of 300 students in Scarborough has raised $600 since September for the Angel Foundation, a charity that runs a variety of programs to aid and empower Toronto’s Catholic students, including nutrition programs and bursaries. The school has also raised $1,786.26 for ShareLife, held food drives for local food banks and collected baby clothing and other necessities over Christmas for the young mothers at Rosalie Hall.

The bracelets sold for a range of prices, depending on the intricacy of the design. The cheapest went for 25 cents, but if you wanted a really colourful, complicated one you had to shell out $2. Every bracelet came with a free, hand-made, colourful paper boat.

The girls, who have noticed homeless people and beggars on Toronto streets, simply wanted to do something for the poor. It was Peres who suggested the money go to the Angel Foundation.

“I just love the Angel Foundation,” the principal said.

The school doesn’t just raise money for the charity, St. Joachim’s turns to the Angel Foundation to even the playing field for some of its students. The charity has a special fund to help families buy new glasses when kids break their old ones. Every year in the senior grades at St. Joachim’s there are class trips, but not all students can come up with an extra $200 to $250 to go with their classmates. There again, the Angel Foundation steps in to fill the gap.

“They’ve (the students) actually felt the goodness from the Angel,” explained Peres. “So they are very willing.”

“We raised $85 for your charity,” the girls wrote in a note to the Angel Foundation that accompanied their donation. “We felt awesome when we raised all this money for a good cause. So thank you for letting us donate the $85 to you.”

The bracelet girls set an example for even younger students at St. Joachim’s. By spring, Grade 2 students had come up with a scheme to sell pencils. The Grade 2s got help from the Grade 5s and Grade 8s, who helped them make change and keep track of sales.

The pencil drive raised another $70 for the Angel Foundation.

“We have students who ... they take on a leadership role,” Peres said.

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