Every Leaf Counts campaign thinks of summer foliage

Every Leaf Counts campaign. Photo courtesy of Hopewell's Campaign page.

Every Leaf Counts campaign. Photo courtesy of Hopewell’s Campaign page.

By Ilia Fabri

There are leaves popping up everywhere in the Old Ottawas.

You may think this strange on such cold days of winter, but look closely. You will find they come bearing a message of hope for a greener tomorrow.

It all started just before the start of this school year when Hopewell Avenue Public School lost all its trees due to the effects of the emerald ash borer. The school also learned all its play structures would have to be removed because they were near expiry.

These developments left the school’s children with a sad, concrete yard. People called it the tarmac yard.

Hopewell’s Parent Council had known there would be work to do on the yard. They had saved a portion of money they raised over recent years. They had stashed away $28,000, but they couldn’t foresee the ravages of those little green beetles.

With the loss of the trees came the loss of shade. Yard repairs became a priority.

In order to start renovations early enough to offer respite to sun-drenched children come the next school year, $200,000 must be raised by March 1.

Never fear! The Every Leaf Counts fundraising campaign is here!

Those leaves in January are symbols we can do this. Only one month into the campaign, the generous hearts in our community have brought us closer to our goal.

Why, you ask, is this important to me? For starters, our children go to Hopewell.

Trees, and a safe place to play provide documented physical and psychological benefits. They reduce air pollution. Tree shade makes the city cooler during those muggy Ottawa summers. Having a beautiful and healthy school yard increases a school’s desirability. It could therefore have a positive effect on your property value.

Mostly though, this new yard will encourage children (and the young at heart) to explore, to dream, to learn and to make lasting memories.

The leaves in store windows, on street posts, in the school and on community boards represent the leaves we hope to put in our yard. Each and every one of them counts.

You can have one too. Every donation puts a new leaf in the Hopewell school atrium as an inspiration to the children and to remind them their community is taking care of them.

Learn more about the campaign through Facebook (www.facebook.com/hopewellyard) and on our donation page bit.ly/hopewellyard where you can also make your donation! Cheques require a minimum $25 donation for a tax receipt, and can be delivered or mailed to the school. (Make cheques payable to: Hopewell Avenue Public School, attention: “Hopewell Yard Campaign.”) Our greatest needs are financial, but we welcome all offers of help at HopewellFundraising2015@gmail.com.

As you enjoy this cold white winter, grow a leaf for your community. Tell your neighbours too.

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