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EMSB students make their mark at annual Toy Tea

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Montreal - Thursday, December 13, 2018

They were there to bring toys to disadvantaged children, to sing and to spread holiday joy. Students from 15 English Montreal School Board (EMSB) schools did just that.

Victoria Hall in Westmount hosted the 27th annual Toy Tea Montreal. The purpose of the event is to collect toys and distribute them to more than 5,000 children living in 31 shelters for domestic abuse and violence, as well as to children at The Welcome Hall Mission, The Montreal Diet Dispensary, Tyndale St. Georges Parish, St. Willibrord's Parish, La Rue des Femmes and Batshaw and Family Services.

Aaron Durocher, the EMSB consultant for Guidance and Spiritual and Community Animation, said the 15 EMSB schools that took part collected close to about 1,000 toys. Westmount Park School and St. Dorothy Elementary School also had their choirs perform.

"We're always very happy to help out," Durocher said, "because it is a great cause and there is a huge need for children, at this time of year, to receive gifts and to be taken care of regardless of their economic situation. So we're very happy to be a part of it."

This was the 16th year of the EMSB's involvement, which is an initiative of former Spiritual, Religious and Moral Education Consultant Irene Miller.

Student representatives, along with their respective spiritual and community animators, teachers, administrators and parent volunteers, received special certificates of participation from the event's co-chairperson Erika Ludwick.

The Toy Tea featured school choirs singing holiday songs. Mais Elwakele, a Grade 5 student at Westmount Park, was among the carolers. She said it was very important to help children who may otherwise not receive any toys this holiday season. "It was a bit stressful," she said with a smile, "but also a lot of fun...it's like a miracle."

Gladys Batten, Spiritual and Community Animator at several EMSB schools including Westmount Park, said she is extremely proud of all the children, including Mais.

"I was asking the students why they were coming to the Toy Tea and why they were participating. I interviewed Mais and she said 'to make other people's hearts warm and turn their lives upside-down for the better.'"

Our Podcast

On this edition of the EMSB podcast, Barry Morgan sits down with Aaron Durocher, the EMSB consultant for Guidance and Spiritual and Community Animation, Gladys Batten, Spiritual and Community Animator at several EMSB schools, Westmount Park School Grade 5 student Mais Elwakele and Toy Tea Montreal  co-chairperson Erika Ludwick.

You'll hear an animated discussion about the EMSB's long involvement in Toy Tea Montreal, an event that was held at Victoria Hall in Westmount, that collects toys and distributes them to more than 5,000 children living in 31 shelters for domestic abuse and violence, as well as to children at The Welcome Hall Mission, The Montreal Diet Dispensary, Tyndale St. Georges Parish, St. Willibrord's Parish, La Rue des Femmes and Batshaw and Family Services.

You can hear the podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/englishmtl/emsb-podcast-toy-tea

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