Photo: Never too young to lead

For the past three years, Ruby Lyons (left) and her intrepid Save the Bowhead Whale Club, including Gabbi Bailey (centre) and Ryan O’Donnell, have spread the word about the plight of Arctic mammals and raised money for the David Suzuki Foundation. Photo credit: Tricia Mumby

By Gail Mainster, communications specialist

"We know you are also worried about the Canadian Arctic and its animals, and we hope you can use this money." ~Ruby Lyons (age nine)

Not yet out of elementary school, Ruby Lyons is already a fundraising maven.

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For the past three years, Ruby and the hard-working members of the Save the Bowhead Whale Club at Kitchener's Sheppard Public School have made crafts, baked goodies, produced promotional materials (including "stop whaling" posters in Russian and Japanese) — even wrote and performed a song — to raise awareness about threats to whales and raise money for the David Suzuki Foundation.

Now the whole school looks forward to the annual sale. "The combination of things kids are good at, like art and baking, with helping something, really gets people excited," Ruby said.

This year, she recruited volunteers and divided them into three teams — one made art (posters and crafts), another wrote publicity announcements and a third found bakers and collected on their commitments. All reported back to Ruby. "The parents were awesome," she said. "Kids gave out the assignments and told them what to do."

Next year, she'd like to expand the program beyond her classroom and involve everyone in the whole school.

Ruby's series of school craft and bake sales is hardly her first foray into Foundation fundraising. She's an old hand. In 2011, she sent us proceeds from her lemonade stand "to help protect Canada's coastlines from oil." She was six.

July 12, 2014

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