(L-R) Bashaw School students Mark Carlson, Korbyn Hewett, Eric Taylor, Addison Vallet and Connor Pearson are joined by Bashaw RCMP Sgt. Bruce Holliday as the students assist a resident with lugging in some firewood last week as part of a new initiative to help out their community.                                Photo by Jesse Vikse

(L-R) Bashaw School students Mark Carlson, Korbyn Hewett, Eric Taylor, Addison Vallet and Connor Pearson are joined by Bashaw RCMP Sgt. Bruce Holliday as the students assist a resident with lugging in some firewood last week as part of a new initiative to help out their community. Photo by Jesse Vikse

Idea spawned to help ripples into project to assist Bashaw residents

Bashaw School students love the new idea spawned out of a need for some help

An idea born out of fulfilling a need for one individual has generated an exciting ripple effect.

Bashaw School teacher Jesse Vikse has created an opportunity for high school students to give of their time for something called ‘Community Support’ — which is part of an option called the Rebel Block.

“The idea behind this project came on Feb. 12. I came across a post on Facebook from the Bashaw Community Events page. A senior was asking for help with some snow removal from his garage. I saw this as an opportunity to reach out as a member from the school,” Vikse explained.

“We had started this thing called Rebel Block, which is designed to integrate different options for the students to choose from. It offers a variety of different learning sessions that the students can pick based on their goals they have created for the week.

“It can vary from sessions in financing to proper form in a free throw. With this as a system in our school, I saw this as an opportunity to set up a new session where the students can be a part of Community Support.”

Within an hour of reaching out to the school’s administration, Vikse had the approval to rally a crew together to shovel some driveways. Another teacher, Amanda Swedberg was a big help as she offered up the assistance of her Humanities class students as well as her reaching out to the student athletes she coaches.

“The students had a great ‘buy in,’ where I actually had more students than expected,” Vikse said.

“We have a great culture in Bashaw and I am excited to see that the students are becoming a part of this culture first hand, hands on and eager to do more. I didn’t want this to be a ‘one hit wonder,’ so I have been hoping for a big dump of snow to allow us to get back out there with shovels.”

Now while that snowfall didn’t occur, a different opportunity popped up when a different senior in the community needed some help hauling firewood into their home.

“I was excited to see another opportunity build into this Rebel Block and requested permission to pursue this. I was able to assemble a crew in less than a minute,” Vikse explained.

Following school safety protocols, he connected up with Bashaw RCMP’s detachment commander Sgt. Bruce Holliday and the group of them set out to help.

But something happened on the trek back to school after completing the job that Vikse didn’t quite anticipate.

“One of the students asked me if this was a Rebel Block session, because he would sign every time. They like helping out, being outside and getting active. Another student told me she couldn’t wait to go shoveling again. Looking at the forecast, I informed them to suit up on the upcoming Tuesday and any other day that there is snow on the previous night,” he stated.

The acts maybe small, and free, but it seems the ripple effect has been huge among the students.

To that end, Vikse’s hope is to see the project grow.

“The only real way to make this happen is spreading the word that we want to help. We love the support that this community brings to our school, and we would like to express our gratitude by contributing our efforts back,” he said, adding the only payment is getting the word out to others about the project.

“I would like to see opportunity upon opportunity to come forward with any request for help be considered. We could rake leaves in the fall, take recycling in, or collect fallen fruit from trees. We would just genuinely like to help in any way we can.”