Recent Articles in ‘Solutions’

Cunningham elementary teachers Jill Lewis, left, and Nikki Short, who both work with autistic children, are seeking more iPads to help the special-needs kids at the east-side school.
Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , Vancouver Sun

Urgent need for tech at east-side school with high number of autistic children

By GERRY BELLETT Bentley Jung pulls up short while explaining how something as simple as the availability of a worn-out laptop had the power to transform his son’s life in school. “I’m sorry but it’s very emotional for me,” he said, remembering the afternoon some weeks ago when his son came home radiant after being […]


Corporate toy run is all about Christmas spirit

By SHELLEY FRALIC Should you be in search of the spirit of Christmas, so often lost in the rush to retail and piles of wrapping paper, look no farther than the delighted face of a youngster receiving an unexpected gift from a not-so-secret Santa. Look no farther than Shania Johnson, who is in Grade 12 […]


SOS saves families from hunger

By GERRY BELLETT It’s called the SOS store and it’s in a locked room in the basement of Norquay Elementary on Slocan Street. And if it looks a little grim with cement block walls and pipes and ducts hanging from the ceiling, and with rows of dusty microscopes stacked in a corner, it’s unlikely that […]


Adopt-A-School: For many kids, spring break is lonely, hungry time

By Daphne Bramham Spring break for many kids means a trip to Disneyland or Whistler or going to one of the many kid-friendly attractions around the city, whether it’s bowling or Science World. But for others, it’s a lonely, scary and often hungry time. “School is the centre of the universe for many children and […]


Adopt-a-School: Wishing Tree finally starts to deliver

When they painted the Wishing Tree in the main hall of Queen Alexandra elementary school some years ago it was for children to place wishes in the foliage as if affixing their heart’s desires to a mural might somehow create its own magic. Improbable as it sounds, it seems to have worked, although not in […]


Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-a-School program has inspired unexpected positive side-effects and quiet acts of kindness

Last year’s Adopt-a-School campaign officially ended on Dec. 31, but four and a half months later, on April 19, two gymnastic instructors arrived unannounced in The Vancouver Sun’s newsroom with a thick bundle of $20 bills, a couple of cheques and a hefty bag of rolled-up coins. All told, $1,749. It had been raised quietly […]

Jim Duggan (centre) buys his produce wholesale to feed the poor from friend Jason Yang (right) of Neighbour's Choice Farm Market in West Vancouver. Yang is helped by Johnny Le (left).

Inner-city school food deliveries switch to centres for summer

When Jim Duggan dived head first into helping poor inner-city families receive fresh fruit and vegetables, he didn’t realize how fathomless is the pool of want. Inspired to help by The Sun’s Adopt-a-School stories describing the needs of poverty-stricken children and families, Duggan pledged to spend $500 a month on fruit and vegetables and distribute […]

Peter Young (left), a former student of Strathcona Elementary and Britannia high school in Vancouver, and his Hearts of Gold Foundation donate $25,000 to the Adopt-a-School initiative. The donation will be matched by The Children's Fund. On hand for the presentation were principal Margaret Jorgensen (second from left), teacher Sue Halsey-Brandt (third from left) and foundation director Lynn Woo (right). Photograph by: Les Bazso, PNG

The truth about child poverty: B.C. has had the highest rate in Canada for eight years

Children are going to school in Metro Vancouver without food, without shoes, without winter coats or mittens. Some are tormented by bedbug bites; others with head lice. The stories are as heartbreaking as they seem incredible in this City of Glass so often described as one of the most livable in the world, and in […]

London Drugs merchandising manager Mary Higgins watches as Roxanne Saxon and baby Willow look through a selection of donated toys at Coquitlam Alternative Basic Education school on Wednesday. Photograph by: Nick Procaylo, PNG

London Drugs toy tour brightens up lives of families experiencing tough times

When the school bells ring today signalling the start of Christmas holidays, it will be a joyful time for many kids. Not so for students who are going home to places where there is not enough food to stretch through the holidays, let alone money for extras like a visit from Santa. This week, London […]

Ignazia Nancy Boucher prepares food at Vancouver's Grandview elementary school as part of the Breakfast for Learning program. Photograph by: Ward Perrin, PNG

Free breakfast and lunch programs provide a major boost to learning results

If there’s one dramatic no-brainer in our collective desire to see kids’ classroom performances improve, it’s this: to feed the mind, first feed the body. For half a century now, scholarly study after scholarly study has found that hungry or ill-nourished kids are at a disadvantage when it comes to the mental demands of classroom […]


Nickelback raises money for BC Kids Hospital – Schools next?

The Vancouver Sun applauds Nickelback’s $50,000 contribution to BC Children’s Hospital, inspired by Andrew Putt’s band, Pardon My Striptease, which released a song called Pray (For LJ) in honour of Putt’s one-year-old daughter Lilee-Jean Putt, who was diagnosed two months ago with a form of brain cancer called Glioblastoma. Putt’s band dedicated all proceeds from […]

Students at a school in Zimbabwe

Helping schools around the world, from your living room

A new initiative by the Canadian International Learning Foundation has set out to overcome what Canadians say is the single biggest barrier to becoming a volunteer: lack of time. “Change the world in five hours a week” is the mantra of the Educator Volunteer Network, which matches up skilled Canadians with schools in developing and […]

Kevin Guidi (blue jersey) prepares for the B.C. AAA high School championships at the Lucas sports centre in this 2002 file photo. Mark van Manen/Vancouver Sun

Lessons learned: School sports are more than just a game

Education has come a long way from reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. The three Rs have been broadened to encompass the three As – academics, arts and athletics. The first provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to be productive citizens, the second unleashes their creativity to ensure society’s cultural vitality, and the third […]

Mary-Ann and Alex Currie have responded to the Adopt-a-School initiative with a $1,500 donation to Thunderbird elementary. Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, PNG

Problem solved: Thunderbird Elementary principal overwhelmed by response

Thunderbird elementary school principal Henry Peters was overwhelmed by the response to an appeal Monday for help for his inner-city school where many children come to class hungry. “The response has been fantastic,” said Peters, who Tuesday was trying to return phone calls and reply to emails offering assistance. Thunderbird, in East Vancouver, was featured […]

L-R. Karen Maher, a special needs resource teacher, watches as student Yassin Dahhou uses an iPad at Lord Roberts Elementary school, Vancouver November 28 2011. The interactive tool can replace pull out cards and picture books like those in the photo's foreground. (Gerry Kahrmann / PNG Staff Photo)

Update: Lord Roberts gets $16,000 towards technology to help unlock learning in autistic kids

UPDATE: Since this story was published, Lord Roberts has been inundated with donations. We’re told 42 iPads have been purchased or donated, with 12 of those going to special needs classes. If you have plans to donate iPads or money, please consider other schools in need at Lord Roberts was a British military commander of […]

VANCOUVER, B.C.: NOVEMBER 22, 2011 -- Cafeteria teacher Ignazia Nancy Boucher prepares breakfast, November 22nd, for the students at Vancouver's Grandview Elementary school. The school is part of the Breakfast for Learning program and feeds children every morning before class.  (Ward Perrin / PNG)

Corporate commitment to charities helps students eat healthy breakfast

The lineup of children at Grandview elementary school began early Tuesday morning, as the first whiff of grilled cheese drifted through the gymnasium. It was a day like any other, with several dozen students from kindergarten to Grade 7 watching hungrily as cafeteria worker Ignazia (Nancy) Boucher flipped sandwiches on the grill and set out […]

Text SUNKIDS to 20222

Text SUNKIDS to 20222 to help feed hungry kids

Your $5 could feed a hungry kid breakfast for a week. Now imagine you can double that without spending another dime – your $5 donation will stretch to feed that child for two weeks. Starting today, with the launch of our Adopt-a-School text-to-donate program, text SUNKIDS to 20222 to donate $5. The Vancouver Sun Children’s […]

Janey Lee, a teacher from Thunderbird Elementary

Inner-city kids come to school tired, hungry: teacher tells forum

A panel discussion was held Monday evening at the Vancouver Public Library to discuss poverty and inner-city students. This was organized by Carrie Gelson and her colleagues at Seymour elementary in the weeks after The Sun published her plea for public support for her school. My colleague Medha staffed the event and her story can […]

Thunderbird elementary school teacher Janey Lee made an impassioned plea for funds to complete the school’s playground, at a recent School Forum. The playground is referred to as the ‘mud-pit’ as it is empty except for a few large rocks and some benches.

Sustainable funding, holistic approach critical at inner-city schools: community panel

Vancouver schoolteacher Carrie Gelson touched a chord and sparked a conversation with her September letter to Vancouver residents that drew attention to the plight of inner-city schools. That conversation continued at Vancouver Public Library Monday evening, where a panel of teachers, health and community workers discussed the challenges of educating children in poorer neighbourhoods. Janey […]