The Turkey Trot at Swanson Road Intermediate School is held during the Thanksgiving week, and this fall was no exception. Physical Education teacher Ann Shane has been doing this fundraiser since her days at JB, and each year she sets a goal for the students. Along the way she shares information about conditions in this part of south Africa and who will benefit, Pride ’n Purpose.
If students meet the fundraising goal, the costumed turkey will visit the grade specific assemblies for a little celebration, and the identity of the celebrity turkey is always anticipated. This year’s goal was $2,000, but students had raised $4,000 by that Wednesday. Additional donations continue to trickle in.
This year’s turkeys were: Special Education teacher Rachel Fenstermaker for 4th grade; Technology Specialist Sarah Connell for 5th grade; and Assistant Principal Marie Mayan for 3rd grade. Our slideshow illustrates the good times.
Previous Trots have helped fund a playground and supplies for the local school. Last year, they helped construct a school building, Masangula Primary School. Before this building, the school held classes under a large tree with the obvious weather complications.
Shane has been to Africa 6 times and will return again this summer. “This will be my 7th visit to Pride ‘n Purpose, but 2nd as a week long teaching volunteer. The other visits were shorter, day visits. I was there to build a playground once, other times, just playing with the kids, giving out equipment to schools and teaching them little games and things.”
Her 2019 trip won’t be a solo event as she is bringing along Principal Susan Lopez, Special Education teacher Fenstermaker and Administrative Assistant Deborah Potvin. “The four of us will be teaching and offering any help that we can. I imagine Susan will spend some time with the school principal offering help and her expertise. In addition to teaching, we will do painting, planting trees/gardens, organizing or whatever is needed.”
When people donate to distant charities, there are always concerns about how much gets to the needy. With Pride ’n Purpose, the charitable arm of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, it is nice to know how much they have done to help from Shane’s observations and participation. Additionally 100% of donations go to help the 35,000 area residents living adjacent to the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve where there is low employment and considerable poverty.
Thanks to the students, faculty and families of Swanson Road Intermediate for your generosity and help.