Help Children in Morocco Get to School

Tomorrow night in Montreal there is a fundraiser for a small rural school in Morocco.When you think of Morocco you would think a Modern North African country right?

Well in some parts children have to walk miles to get to school.

The Association AlWahda Taksbite (AS.WA.T.). are try to raise 40,000.00 Dh MAD which is about $4,600.00 Canadian to get a school bus so the 200 plus children of Had Belfaa ( a very rural school in central Morocco) don’t have to walk mile after mile.

This is about kids being able to get to school so they can learn.

We all know it is important to have an education, so lets help out these kids and give what you can.

Now if you are in Montreal tomorrow there is a fundraiser:

Friday, November 30th at au WichitaPalace, 8386 St-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2P 2M3.

If you can help out even a little it will be appreciated by many small students.

Here is the Chip In for the fundraiser.


Will It Ever Stop?

question mark © by Karen Eliot

Will it stop?

Will it ever end?

Is there anyway I can make it better?

Can I make it go away?

Another day, another child bullied once again. Another dead teen. Will my teen be next?

I think I can remember the first time my daughter was bullied at school so much it made her cry. It was a fall day and her grade 2 year was just beginning. She came home at lunch and laid her head on the table and asked me. “Mom, why are the kids so mean?” I asked her to explain, my daughter being the perceptive kid that she is  said “They won’t play with me, they call me names”. Exclusion began at an early age for my girl.

By the time we got to grade 5 there had been several incidents but none prepared us for what lied ahead. We moved to small town Nova Scotia, where I thought my daughter would thrive, but instead my daughter went through a year of what I refer to as hell on earth. Early in the year she tried to befriend 2 sisters who lived down the street, she invited them to our house, there was an incident ( one of the girls stole from a change dish that I kept out), after that the hell began. Two weeks later, these girls and a small army of 8 fellow 10 and 11 year olds, beat my daughter on her way home from school, just steps off school property. She had bruises and cuts that reminded her for weeks what had happened. Teasing, taunting, fear all became apart of my daughter’s life. The school principal did not take it seriously, nor did the trustees, and the police, well they told me there was little they could do until the kids turn 12. So I blogged it, wrote the newspaper, and prayed. At the end of grade 5 I had had enough so decided to move to Halifax.

A new school, a new year, or so I prayed, but again the bullying began. This time it wasn’t the physical harm. There was just the teasing and the taunts, the exclusion. Those things matter and leave emotional scars that I think are far worse than the physical ones sometimes.

So we moved again, back to Toronto, and the TDSB where I had had some success in getting my dear daughter feeling like she mattered, feeling like she belonged. After years of abuse at the hands of the bullies though, I began to feel like I was losing my daughter. Rarely does she genuinely smile and laugh and her thoughts take her to very dark places. Last year she became the bully when she reacted to the taunts and teasing of other kids, so much so that she was unwelcome at her school. For the last 2 months of the 2010-2011 school year, my daughter was excluded from an education because the board could not meet her needs.

Now this week, after the best start to a school year she has had in years, there was an incident, hair was pulled, words spoken, the investigation is still ongoing but I am a mom who fears for her daughter and the days ahead.

Yesterday the school psychologist called, they have just finished the assessment that they did. It is clear that my daughter has a learning disability, it has to do with processing. She is not autistic or on the spectrum, there may be signs of ADHD, but what worries the psychologist most is my daughter’s mental health. I am a  mom who is drawing a conclusion here the years of bullying have left a huge emotional dent in my daughter, depression is at the door. So I think I have the right to worry, as I see the toll bullying is taking on our kids.

I ask myself every day, will it end? How can I help her to have a good day.

Does bullying concern you?

What do you think can be done?




Bullying In New Glasgow School

Last September Rachel and I moved from Toronto and its overworked, overstressed, TDSB (Toronto District School Board) to rural small town New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. In that move, I really thought Roo would do much better in a smaller school.

Let me tell you the advantage of the big city. The amount of programming for kids like Roo is there ( you may have to fight for it but it is there) whereas here in New Glasgow Roo has languished.

Our School Year in New Glasgow

It has been an extremely difficult year. Of course with the move, I expected some blimps along the way. To be honest, nothing could of prepared me for the year we have had thus far. Roo goes to a school with just over 100 students ( that is common here). There are little supports available for kids like Roo ( smart, yet super challenged socially). She was put into a regular grade 5 environment where there has been little support considering her challenges.

Then to top off the lack of proper educational supports you have a bullying policy that is there in writing but nothing is really done to implement it or to be proactive. Every recess you see kids getting hurt usually at the hands of other children, you hear stories of kids being isolated, of names being hurled and the list, goes on.

For Roo this year has been hell. First, in November it was her being gang attacked on the way home from school by two other female students ( these kids are grade 5-6) while 5 boys stood and watched and cheered it on. I called the police. They came and said there was little to do besides talking to the parents as the children were under the age of 12. The school could do nothing because the attack took place just off school property.

In March Roo had to visit the emergency room after being pushed down on the ice. She needed 5 stitches to close up her lip. I was told it was accidental by staff, yet Rachel said it was an intentional act. I tend to believe her.

After that incident, Roo has become more depressed and almost every day she endures some form of bullying from being spat at, pushed, called a name, etc.. Last month she told me she would rather die then go to school.

Then today at morning recess there was another incident. Roo was hanging upside down on a movable bar in the playground. Another child came along and twisted the bar causing her to fall and now she is left with a huge welt and a bad headache.

After the incident today Roo decided she has had enough. She left school ( I know very dangerous for an 11 yr old) and came home. She feels not listened too, she feels as if teachers and staff don’t care or dismiss things as accidents or roughhousing. When did roughhousing become ok?

I have been told as I talk with other parents that Roo is not the only child who is enduring a life like this. I am now a Mom at my wit’s end and the Momma bear in me is out. I think we especially here in Nova Scotia need to challenge the definition of bullying. We need to do more and better for every Roo that is enduring a life of pure terror or else who knows she just could end up dead and for this parent that is unthinkable.

I have tried calling the board and basically got nowhere. I have spoken to the principal and well the man refuses to see the problems in his school. So what would you do? what if this was your daughter? how can we do better for our children?

Please feel free to share your stories of bullying here, share solutions you see as workable. I am all ears.



A Great Contesting Story

I haven’t blogged about this yet and really I wanted too! I wanted to wait though till cheques where out there. That happened last week. Now I can share the story of the school community here in Toronto that could and did win big for our school!

Back in August Please Mum hosted a contest. Parents could fill an online ballot and vote for their favorite school. The school by September 15th with the most ballots won, and10 parents across Canada would win too. Parents won $500 in a Gift Card for Please Mom which I am sure helped make a dent for several families and their back to school shopping.

When I first saw the contest it was post on the Frugal Shopper forum, I filled out my ballot and voted for my daughter’s school: RH McGregor here in Toronto. The more I thought about it I thought hey our school could use the money and we are always looking for an easy “fund raiser” so I sent off an email to the co-chairs of our school advisory and home and school committees. Well the home and school chair took it to her executive meeting that was happening the week before school started and ran with it. On the first Friday in amongst the hand outs was one telling of the contest. Parents basically had a week to get online and enter and enter they did! The parents all have a we can do attitude!

Well almost a month later our dear principal who really didn’t pay attention to all home and school was doing to enter this contest got a call from Please Mum, our school won! So how would he decide to spend an extra $5,000? He could choose from a huge dance party, books for the classroom, gym equipment, or art supplies. What would you of picked for your child’s school? I think he did well when he choose books. So our wonderful librarian now gets to shop for the classroom libraries.

Now the story of the contest win doesn’t end there. You see my daughter’s school is one with a great home and school organization that does have the ability and does raise thousands for the school. So a decision was made to help out another school locally who isn’t as lucky as we are right now. So another school is getting $1,000 to help with their libraries.

For me a mom I thought the win was great but what a great lesson to instill to the kids: when you are blessed, bless others!