From left, Hanna Weflan, Whitney Martens, Quinn Ritchie, James DeGroot and Marili Gray show off their Bracelets for Breast Cancer, which they are making and marketing for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. (MEGAN LANE/BRANDON SUN)
With high hopes for making change happen, a group of Grade 6 girls from Waverly Park School have been working hard to make and sell bracelets to raise money for breast cancer research.
"We knew we wanted to help make a difference," said Whitney Martens, team leader of Bracelets for Breast Cancer.
"It took us awhile to decide what to raise money for, but we decided on breast cancer because my grandma had it."
Starting with a group of four girls, the team initiated the project on their own and it now involves 10 girls who spend a lot of their spare time filling bracelet orders from friends and family members.
"Doesn’t matter what’s your size, you can do anything if you put your mind to it!" read posters hanging in Waverly Park School.
Since starting to sell the bracelets — which are made of yarn and embroidery thread and cost between $1 and $1.50 — in February with a goal of raising $50, the group has raised more than $130 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
"It feels really nice to know that you are making a change," James DeGroot said. "We have already passed our goal and now we want to reach $200."
The whole group agreed that their fundraiser has been a fun way for them to get involved, but it has also been stressful. Martens said that launching the project was the hardest, then it just smoothed itself out.
"I think we have all had a lot of late nights trying to finish the order bracelets," Hanna Weflan said.
In addition to selling the bracelets at school, the girls have recognized the business opportunity that garage sales bring. One of the girls decided to sell them at her family garage sale and raised $50 in one day.
"People also like to donate money," DeGroot said. "One of our brothers gave us $10!"
Since starting Bracelets for Breast Cancer, the girls involved feel as though they are viewed differently by adults.
"Some of our teachers have used us as an example of responsibility," DeGroot said. "And our parents have been very supportive of us, even financially."
Martens hopes that their project will inspire other kids to think about how they can make a difference.
"It is just so great to see us making change happen ourselves," Martens said. "I really wish I would’ve taken a picture of the smile on my grandma’s face when I told her what we were doing."
The girls agree that Bracelets for Breast Cancer has pushed them to see how much they can do.
"I think that as parents we are really proud to see what they have decided to do," said Hanna’s mom, Noreen Weflan. "They really surprised me with how they have stuck to it."
As a parent, Weflan sees the benefits of all the girls coming together around the cause especially as they are only in Grade 6.
"Their incentive and excitement is great," Weflan said. "I am not sure how long they will continue this for, but it is impressive to see how much they have made on $1 bracelets."
The group wants to continue to make and sell bracelets until school ends in June.
"We are hoping that as a group we can take the money to the cancer foundation," Martens said. "We have done this together and we want everyone to be there."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 5, 2012