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Kids recycle for arthritis 0

By Jamie Fischer, Special to the Herald-Leader

Oakville School students are going green for a good cause. The school's newest recycling program, Think Recycle, is an environmental fundraisier that generates funds for the Arthritis Society.

"It's to educate students on recycling while teaching them empathy," Natalie Harrison, the school's junior high language arts teacher, said. The cause hits close to home for Harrison, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a few years ago. "We're helping them learn how to help others," she said.

The program itself is a simple one. Students bring in used, broken, or unwanted cellphones, MP3 players, ink and laser cartridges, and digital cameras and put them in the recycle bin at the front of the school. The school earns funds for the items collected, which they in turn donate to the Arthritis Society.

The Think Recycle program also has partnerships with The Tree Canada Foundation and American Forests. For every 24 qualifying items collected, Think Recycle the planting of a new tree.

The students' responses have been positive. "I think the fact that it's a cost-free fundraiser has led to positive feedback," Harrison said of its early success.

Harrison's neighbour, Cindy McDonald, is also responsible for the new fundraiser at Oakville School. Like Harrison, McDonald has personal ties to the cause. "When I was 18 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, so its near and dear to my heart," McDonald said.

McDonald has been in remission for eight years. Having always wanted to run a marathon with Joints in Motion, she decided this year would be it. She'll be running a half marathon in Dublin, Ireland, later this year with Natalie Harrison listed as her hero.

Think Recycle is part of McDonald's fundraising for the Arthritis Society and her Joints in Motion run. She's pleased to see it at the school as a way to teach students. "It's a great way to promote empathy," McDonald said of the Think Recycle bin at Oakville School. "The kids out there are great."

McDonald also has Think Recycle bins at the Portage la Prairie Chamber and United Way.

jfischer@cpheraldleader.com


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