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Helping to keep them happy
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Kevin Bussey chairs Rankin's safe and caring schools and community committee.
The committee co-ordinates the breakfast program and fundraises in its support.
Bussey said he became aware of the foundation through fellow committee member RCMP Const. Patrick McRorie this past fall.
He said it takes about $140,000 a year to run the breakfast program at the three Rankin schools.
"The daily work involving the program is done by teachers and staff members at the schools," said Bussey.
"The food is administered first thing in the morning to every school-aged child in the community.
"The snacks are offered right in the classroom because some students might not go if the program was held in a separate room, which sometimes creates a stigma.
"The snacks - cereal bars, yogurt, milk, juice and fruits - are all reviewed by a community nutritionist and fall under the Canada and Nunavut food guides as healthy items."
McRorie said the breakfast program is an important initiative because it helps promote healthy and happy kids at school.
He said when students do well at school, it often carries over to their behaviour after class.
"We deal with fewer issues related to youth in the community when they're happy, well-fed and doing well in school," said McRorie.
"Good days at school translate into positive attitudes when they leave for the day."
McRorie has been on the safe-and-caring committee since he arrived in Rankin about two years ago.
He said youth are a great asset to the community, and it helps when RCMP members have a good relationship with the kids.
"I also coach soccer at the school and I enjoy my time with the kids.
"It's good for them to see you outside your role as a police officer, and it gives them the chance to talk to you on a personal level.
"The kids ask me about non-police-related stuff all the time.
"And that's the type of relationship you want to build in the community."
Bussey said the committee is also about to begin fundraising to buy four public-access defibrillators.
He said there's a big need for the devices in Rankin.
"We often have large gatherings of people at the schools and arena, and that's where these are needed.
"They're very simple to use and quite often can save a life.
"Sudden death can occur when someone gets struck in the chest with a puck, soccer ball or whatever.
"Statistics show us having a defibrillator nearby can save a life."
Bussey said each unit cost about $1,200 and almost anyone can learn to use one.
He said the committee will begin its fundraising efforts shortly.
"Once purchased, the committee will provide free training for staff members at the schools and arena.
"They're about the size of a telephone and once you turn them on a computer tells you exactly what to do.
"Students could learn how to use one to save a life."