Every year, each student at Rosthern Junior College participates in our ALSO (Alternative Learning and Serving Opportunities) week. During ALSO Week, students serve in various social agencies in Canada, USA and Central America.
Much groundwork is done to prepare the students hearts and minds to be open to what they will see and experience during ALSO week. The experiences are varied but all explore themes of service, peace, discipleship and justice. This year’s theme was the ‘Upside Down Kingdom’. Beginning early in the year Chapels were dedicated to exploring the theme. As well, the Faith and Life Committee organized a student fundraiser where students were asked to raise money in creative ways to support programs in all of the ALSO locations. This year’s fundraiser was called Adventopoly. Each ALSO group then took a portion of the money raised to donate to different organization at each of the ALSO locations. With everything finally in place and with much excitement and anticipation, the entire student body departed for one of the 5 locations during the 3rd week of April.
This week was incredible. We were given the chance to be servant leaders in our community and in the area surrounding Rosthern.
We jumped right into our week with yard work in a courtyard at the Rosthern Mennonite Nursing Home. A gentleman who lives at the complex approached us as we were working and told us that cleaning up the courtyard and getting it ready for summer is usually his job. He showed great gratitude to the work being done, as he was unsure if he would be able to get the job done this year. We were also given the opportunity to take residents of the nursing home on a walk of the compound.
Tuesday, we took a drive to the city to visit Ronald McDonald House, which was a first time visit for a Saskatoon ALSO group. We got a tour of the house and listened as Tammy Forrester explained to us how the house works and why families need to utilize it. As we worked away outside: raking, sweeping and cleaning, our own kitchen staff from RJC made a lovely meal for the families living in the house.
Wednesday was a great day of relaxing service. We spent the afternoon participating in yoga at St. Michael’s School in Saskatoon with the grade 6 and 7/8 classes. After our yoga time we visited One Yoga, got a tour of the facility and listened to our Yogi, Lauren, and Heather speak about yoga and the benefits it’s had on the students at St. Michael’s. Supper was eaten at McDonald’s, as it was McHappy Day, which raises funds Ronald McDonald House.
The Also Calgary trip spent a week learning about homelessness and about the programs that they provide for the people who are in need. We visited the Mustard Seed where some of us helped to make sandwiches for lunch while the rest were sorting through their donations. We also had the opportunity to do a “Day in the Life” activity provided by the Mustard Seed, which gave us an outlook of what people go through in their daily life. We visited the drop in center where they taught us about the services they offer. We also helped to prepare baby bottles for a fundraiser for the Calgary Pregnancy Centre. Calgary treated us well after learning more about homelessness I can say we all have a better understanding of it and learned how small things can make a big difference. We had a great trip where we all made good memories and we won’t forget those milkshakes from “Peter’s Drive In”!
ALSO Calgary Video
On April 28th the RJC gr. 10 IMAGINE class embarked on their journey west to begin their ALSO Oliver experience. After a night in Calgary, students enjoyed a breakfast in Banff and gorgeous mountain views as they headed to the Okanagan region. By early evening the group arrived at the Okanagan Gleaners in Oliver, B.C.
ALSO Oliver Video 1
Students spent the week working alongside Gleaner's volunteers to process and dry surplus produce to be sent overseas to areas of food insecurity. The group worked rapidly to clean, cut, and dice vegetables like carrots, parsnips, peppers, and brussel sprouts. In total, the IMAGINE class processed the equivalent of 120,000 servings of dried soup.
There were also numerous opportunities to enjoy the unique landscape around the Oliver region. The sun shone warmly as students swam in the Okanagan and Osoyoos lakes. Additionally, the Skaha Bluffs were an ideal place to explore gorgeous paths nestled within a craggy valley. To top it off, students were rewarded with delicious ice-cream at the landmark Tickeleberries.
ALSO Oliver Video 2
The IMAGINE class is grateful to those who contributed to to their experience. In particular, the class appreciates the hospitality of the Okanagan Gleaners to work and serve with them.