'They're a big part in our life': Mother and daughter make and deliver gift bags to teachers
RED DEER -- A mother and daughter are putting together gift bags to show their appreciation for teachers across central Alberta.
Nicki Monilaws says her daughter Jayda Monilaws has always had a huge heart and an eagerness to help out her community. The 12-year-old has raised more than $20,000 in the last seven years for the Central Alberta Humane Society through her annual cupcake sale.
"Right now, because of COVID restrictions, she couldn't do anything for the animals this summer, so she decided she would do something for the teachers," said Nicki.
The mother and daughter combo thought of the idea of delivering gift bags to teachers full of essential items needed for the upcoming school year. The gift bags include items such as hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, and Lysol cleaner. They also include smaller items such as candy, gum and chocolate.
"I wanted to show the teachers that we care and that they're a big part in our life," said Jayda.
"We want to be kind and show them how much we appreciate them."
The first gift bag went to the teacher that inspired the whole idea, Mrs. Buck. She was Jayda's teacher last year at Westpark Middle School. Nicki said Mrs. Buck went out of her way to consistently check up on how Jayda was doing once her classes went online.
"She was so caring and compassionate all year, and then when schooling changed to online, she reached out a lot," said Nicki.
"Jayda wanted to do something for her, and she thought why stop at one teacher?"
Initially, along with her parents paying for the items in the gift bags, Jayda gave up her allowance to help cover the costs. However, now friends and family have also started to pitch in.
"We are very grateful that we have some friends that have also donated some money and supplies to help, so that it's not just all out of our pockets," said Nicki.
Nicki said it is important to show appreciation for teachers who will be teaching in the midst of a pandemic.
"It’s important to be compassionate and be kind and realize that they have a lot on their plates," said Nicki.
"I personally know a lot of teachers that are very nervous and anxious, but they love their careers and they love the kids."
So far, Nicki and Jayda have delivered 13 gift bags to teachers in Red Deer, Blackfalds, and Sylvan Lake. They plan to deliver more gift bags in the upcoming days.