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Michael’s Hope launched by Kindergarten Student at Walter and Gladys Hill

L-R: Michael's Mom, Michelle, Michael, and his teacher Leigh White holding one of the L-R: Michael's Mom, Michelle, Michael, and his teacher Leigh White holding one of the "H people"

“Mom, how can we help the homeless?” When six-year-old Michael Bridgeman asked this question, it was the beginning of a wonderful project.

A Reggio inspired Kindergarten student at Walter and Gladys Hill Public School, Michael was talking to his mom, Michelle Summers, and the topic came up as they discussed events in the community and around the world.

“The initial conversations started during spring break this year. And, Michael wanted to do something more,” explains Michelle.

“I talked about it with my Mom, and saw the homeless on a show. Then I thought about the homeless too much, and I was very sad.”

So Michael, who loves art, decided to do something. He started designing “H people,” the H stands for hope and the homeless. He picked his favourite one “with square eyes,” to sell. He shared the idea with his teacher, Ms. Leigh White, who has been encouraging him all the way, and documenting his journey.

“He worked really hard on his pictures, and wanted to donate all the money from them. I talked to his mother, and Michael then spoke to our Principal, Annalee Nutter, who talked to Katie Elser at District Office, a graphic designer. So now 500 pins with Michael’s designs have arrived. He picked the price of $5. We are very proud of Michael. He is a leader,” commented Ms. White.

“At the time I volunteered to design this, I knew nothing about Michael. I feel like I got to know him a little through his art. I struggled putting a font on his drawing. So I asked Principal Nutter and his teacher Ms. White if they could get Michael to write his name for me. Once Michael decided on a name for his project - Michael's Hope (with a heart as the 'o'), and added his name, it completed the project,” Katie explained.

                                                                                                  

A school-wide assembly highlighted Michael’s project. And, Ms White reached out to the Centre of Hope, a daytime drop-in shelter for the homeless, who will be receiving all the funds from Michael’s Hope. Earlier this June, the Centre invited him to headline their annual Hope in the Dark event where community members sleep in the rough for awareness about the homeless. And, Mayor Don Scott (photo below) made Michael Honorary Mayor, commending his efforts.

                                                                                                           

“Michael's initiative to help the homeless was unexpected. Who would have dreamed that a Kindergarten student would be so thoughtful and selfless?” enthused Annalee Nutter, Principal, Walter and Gladys Hill Public School.

“Most students his age are thinking about themselves and their world of friends and play, not homelessness. We are very proud of Michael and have supported him to show everyone what a small idea can turn into. He has been an example already to others at his school and we believe he has motivated many to do the same. We have heard a couple of stories of how others want to help community members. Michael already has another major project he is thinking about. This is a truly amazing kid!” Principal Nutter added.

“I feel good about this. I also want to build wells in places where they don’t have clean water,” noted Michael.

Michelle is impressed by the community’s response to the project.

“This is amazing. I’m so grateful to Walter and Gladys Hill and Fort McMurray Public School District for supporting Michael’s Hope. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to promote this project. I have a four and a one-year-old, and my four-year-old, who is in ECDP at Walter and Gladys Hill is already inspired by his big brother. It’s all about giving back to your community, and making the world better for all.”

The pins are available for purchase from the Centre of Hope located downtown at 1 McLeod Street.

For more information, please contact Michael’s Mom, Michelle Summers via: michaels.hope@icloud.com.