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Tag: Livingstone Range School Division

Raegan and Daina Lazarotto with brown-bag snacks

A small idea leads to food security for LRSD students

Last spring, Raegan Lazzaratto noticed some classmates at Livingstone School bringing lunches that lacked nutritional substance — sometimes only a banana or an orange. Recognizing a problem, the Grade 5 student set out to find a solution with help from her mom, Daina.

What began as a small mission to help other kids at her own school led to a $75,000 donation to the Livingstone Range School Division from Northback Holdings.

Last spring, the mother and daughter’s first plan was to overpack Raegan’s lunch. This provided an opportunity to share extra food with anyone needing it. Despite the best of intentions, Raegan learned that accepting generosity wasn’t always as easy for others as it was for her to offer.

“Then we thought, hey, let’s start this thing so everyone else can have food,” she says, reflecting on the shift from a small gesture of kindness to one with greater impact.

“It’s the first time I’ve actually wanted to do this,” she noted after the program was unveiled Monday. “It feels good that I could do something like that.”

What she did is definitely something Raegan, her family and her community can all appreciate and be proud of.

Her drive to support as many youths as possible led to an amazing outcome after Raegan and her mom put their heads together and came up with a proposal.

“I think I started noticing it [students in need of nutritious meals] around this time of year and we worked on it up until now,” says Raegan, who is now in Grade 6.

 

Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

They hoped to have assistance in place for September, but there was considerable legwork to do. Daina researched food insecurity in the school division and eventually requested a financial gift from her employer, Northback Holdings Corp.

She proposed a $75,000 donation and says CEO Mike Young got behind the project right away. The hope was that a donation of this size would meet Raegan’s goal of helping many students.

In December, the ask was made to Hancock Prospecting, Northback’s parent company. It was approved immediately and the money was available to Livingstone Range School Division in early January.

“They loved the proposal, in which I shared Raegan’s story, and jumped on it right away, no questions asked,” says Daina.

An announcement was made in early February and officially presented to the Livingstone School community during an assembly on Monday. The Sabres’ gymnasium was filled with teachers, the kindergarten to Grade 12 population and several special guests.

Raegan felt good about herself afterwards. Before the presentation, only a select few knew it was her idea and passion that had put the wheels in motion.

“I think they were a little bit shocked that I had done that but I think that they felt like, ‘Wow, we’re actually going to get some food,’ ” she says.

Northback’s donation will be an annual one for what Daina says is an undetermined amount of time. With the rising cost of groceries and the cost of living in general, knowing schools have nutritional resources could reduce food security stress for many families.

Northback has handed the reins to the school division, believing the administrators know best what resources are needed and where.

“There’s no catch,” Daina says. “The division has the opportunity to use the finances as it sees fit to offer nutrition programs to its schools.”

According to LRSD, the donation will provide food for about 1,000 students. Most schools in the division receive provincial nutrition grants from the Breakfast Club of Canada.

This new funding will support seven schools not receiving Breakfast Club dollars. Along with Livingstone School in Lundbreck, these include Canyon School in Pincher Creek, Horace Allen and Isabelle Sellon schools in Crowsnest Pass, West Meadow Elementary and Will Creek Composite High in Claresholm, and Stavely Elementary.

 

 

While Livingstone School makes food available in the classrooms, it does not have a formal breakfast program.

“In talks with our nutrition co-ordinator, she would like to implement a full breakfast program — that’s the kind of change we’re hoping to see,” says Daina.

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Chelsae Petrovic said Raegan’s story left her speechless and almost in tears. She believes children will have a greater opportunity to thrive and focus on academics and sports.

“I know the importance of what it truly means for the kids,” she said after Monday’s presentation. “I think, too, for parents to know that if they are facing food insecurity, to know that their children are going to be fed at school.”

“When we look at the small wins in life, even if we’re feeding one child or two children, that’s two less hungry children,” she added. “To feed 1,000 is a huge win.”

As evidenced by his expression in the front-page photo, Northback CEO Mike Young is excited about the project.

“We often underestimate the impact of a seemingly simple, yet essential, element — a nutritious breakfast,” he said Monday.

“By supporting the LRSD nutrition program we’re not merely providing a meal, we are investing in the future of our children.”

Twelve-year-old Raegan Lazzarotto has demonstrated that she understands this concept and that she is willing to do the work required to instigate positive change.

“I think she deserves so much credit for caring about her classmates and her school and wanting to make sure everybody is fed,” says her mom.

Raegan’s friends at Livingstone School and all other LRSD schools can be inspired by seeing a peer’s small idea generate a big outcome.

 

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Northback donation to Livingstone Range School Division — Mike Young, Raegan Lazzarotto, Daina Lazzarotto

LRSD receives $75K corporate donation

As many as seven more schools in the Livingstone Range School Division will now be able to provide breakfast and nutritious meals for students, thanks to the generosity of one locally operating business.

Northback Holdings Corp. has announced it’s providing $75,000 each year, over the next several years, to help fuel the bodies and minds of an additional 1,000 students.

”Many of our students face food insecurity at home,” said Richard Feller, LRSD’s associate superintendent of human and learning services, in making the Feb. 5 announcement.

“Our nutrition program helps ensure students don’t have to be hungry and can focus on learning.”

While close to 1,000 students in the division are already being supported by funding from the province and the Breakfast Club of Canada, this contribution will supplement schools that didn’t otherwise receive extra grant dollars.

“The story behind [the donation] is one of our employees, her child had started to notice that some of her classmates weren’t bringing what you’d call a nourishing lunch to the school, and she asked if we could help,” Northback CEO Mike Young told Shootin’ the Breeze.

“I have a sister-in-law in Kingston, Ont., who did a program like this and I remember visiting the school, and it really resonated with me when our employee came to me. I didn’t hesitate.”

In its 2023 annual Raising Canada report, Children First Canada listed poverty as the sixth biggest threat to kids nationwide, stating that nearly 1.8 million children under the age of 18 were affected by food insecurity in 2022.

 

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Front page of March 6, 2024, issue of Shootin' the Breeze. Northback donation to LRSD.

Shootin’ the Breeze Pincher Creek – March 3, 2024

$75,000 Northback donation aims to fight food insecurity

Northback Holdings CEO Mike Young and community relations advisor Daina Lazzarotto give Raegan Lazzarotto a big thumbs up for her role in bringing awareness to food insecurity at Livingstone School. Raegan and Daina came up with a plan that led to an ongoing annual donation of $75,000 to support nutrition programs in the Livingstone Range School Division. A presentation was made Monday at the school and students were offered bagged takeaway snacks and yogurt to celebrate.

Photo by Shannon Peace

A woman with long blonde hair and a woman with short brown hair and glasses smile for the camera.

LRSD hires mental health therapists

The pair will be tasked with providing culturally appropriate and evidence-informed practices in crisis intervention, assessment, referral and intervention services for students and their families. Additionally, they may support consultation and professional development activities within LRSD.

Students and their families can access this service through a referral process with a school’s family-school liaison counsellor. 

Through this process, the counsellor determines if the student and caregiver will be best served seeing an LRSD mental health therapist.

If it is determined to be the best course of action, a referral will be made and the mental health therapist will reach out to initiate the service moving forward.

Colette, who is Métis, will be working as the Indigenous mental health therapist for the division. Her focus will be primarily on the Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek areas, given their significant Indigenous populations.

Colette previously worked within the school division as the family-school liaison counsellor at Livingstone School in Lundbreck. 

She provided support to students and families experiencing hardships while acting as a liaison between families and the school system.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychiatric nursing from Brandon University and a master’s in counselling psychology from Yorkville University, Colette has the experience and education to excel in this role.

“I am extremely pleased to be chosen to fill this new role and look forward to gaining knowledge and sharing experiences with individuals and families in the Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod area,” Colette said in a press release from LRSD.

 

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Kristen will work in the northern and western corridors of LRSD. This includes schools in Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm, Granum, Lundbreck and Crowsnest Pass. 

Kristen previously spent over 10 years working predominantly for community agencies and Alberta Health Services. 

She holds a diploma in social work from Mount Royal University, on top of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Calgary. 

With a diverse education background and an affinity for helping others, Kristen is excited for this new challenge.

“I am looking forward to seeing the world through a student’s lens and helping support and nurture healthy and meaningful relationships in the process,” said Kristen in the same media release.

The mental health therapist positions are temporary roles made possible through the Alberta government’s Mental Health in Schools Pilot Grant.

LRSD recognizes the importance of having therapists available to its students and felt this was an opportunity the division could not pass up. 

“Oftentimes the ability to access these supports may prove difficult due to travel logistics or financial barriers,” says Holly Stewart, clinical team lead with LRSD, in the press release.

“Having Colette and Kristen join our division and be able to provide these essential services directly and in a flexible, timely manner to our students and their caregivers in the school setting is truly exciting.” 

Colette and Kristen will hold these positions until Dec. 31, 2024, barring any changes.

Man blowing nose into handkerchief while woman wearing non-medical mask has hands in the air fending off germs

Respiratory illness outbreak at MHHS

A “respiratory illness outbreak” was announced at Matthew Halton High School in Pincher Creek on Tuesday, Nov. 22, according to Darryl Seguin, superintendent at Livingstone Range School Division. 

The outbreak came into effect at MHHS after at least 10 per cent of the 278 students stayed home with respiratory symptoms.

Schools are asked to notify Alberta Health Services’ Co-ordinated Early Identification and Response team whenever absenteeism due to respiratory illness hits 10 per cent or when there’s an unusual number of individuals (off sick) with similar symptoms.

Tuesday’s announcement came one day after an outbreak was declared at Pincher Creek’s Canyon School.

No further outbreaks were reported within LRSD as of Wednesday afternoon. A prior outbreak had been announced at the school division’s early-learning program at the Horace Allen School in Coleman. 

 

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Seguin didn’t say if LRSD has the authority to impose masking mandates. Premier Danielle Smith announced earlier this month that “Our government will not permit any further masking mandates of children in Alberta’s K-12 education system.” 

A Court of King’s Bench judge had previously ruled that a health order to this effect by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, formerly Alberta’s chief medical officer, “was made for improper purposes.”

Justice G.S. Dunlop ruled that the chief medical officer has the authority to mandate school health measures, but that Hinshaw had based her order on a political decision by cabinet.

Custodial staff at Canyon and MHHS are taking extra care to clean surfaces, while teachers are being encouraged to rearrange classrooms to allow for more social distancing, Seguin said. 

The outbreak seems to have spared teachers at MHHS, with Seguin saying staff absences due to illness have been normal for this point in the school year.

The division is home to about 3,750 kids in K-12.

 

 

People stand in line outside Pincher Creek council chambers waiting to vote

Municipal elections wrap up for another four years

The ballots have been cast and counted and the unofficial results are in.

As municipal elections wind to a close, new councils start preparations for the next term and some of the results look much different from the last four years.

Four new councillors have been elected to Pincher Creek town council and MD council has seen a complete turnover, with the exception of incumbent Rick Lemire from District 2.

One new councillor will serve alongside five incumbents on Crowsnest Pass council.

Livingstone Range School Division has seen no change in trustee positions while Holy Spirit Catholic School Division has gained a new local representative.

Town of Pincher Creek

Don Anderberg will return as mayor for another term. He captured 729 votes (59 per cent) on Monday night. Scott Korbett was second with 319 votes (26 per cent) and Jim Litkowski finished with 185 (15 per cent).

Incumbents Mark Barber and Wayne Elliott are returning to council as well, with Elliott receiving 676 votes (10.8 per cent) and Barber capturing 603 (9.6 per cent).

Of the newly elected councillors, Wayne Oliver came out on top, with 701 votes (11.2 per cent). David Green received 679 (10.9 per cent), Brian Wright 629 (10.1 per cent) and Sahra Nodge 577 (9.2 per cent) to fill the remaining positions. 

Not making the cut were incumbent Brian McGillivray with 513 votes (8.2 per cent), Judy Lane with 481 (7.7 per cent), Tammy Carmichael with 478 (7.6 per cent), Corinne Payne with 417 (6.7 per cent), Jocelyne Sheen with 315 (5.0 per cent), Blaise O’Rourke with 127 (2.0 per cent) and Mike Chaput with 58 (0.9 per cent).

MD of Pincher Creek

As lone candidates in their ridings, Anthony Bruder of Division 1 and Rick Lemire of Division 2 were elected by acclamation. Lemire is returning for a second term and Bruder will serve his first.

David Cox captured the majority of support in Division 3 with 165 votes (73.3 per cent), defeating Garry Marchuk, who had 60 votes (26.7 per cent).

In Division 4, Harold Hollingshead won the seat, finishing with 118 votes (63.8 per cent), while Jim Welsch had 67 (36.2 per cent).

John MacGarva carried the vote in Division 5 with 193 (58.1 per cent), while Chuck Lee came in with 139 (41.9 per cent).

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

Blair Painter was elected mayor by acclamation and all incumbent councillors are back for another go.

Serving another term are top vote-getter Doreen Glavin with 1,293 votes (16.2 per cent), Dave Filipuzzi with 1,263 (15.8 per cent), Dean Ward with 1,217 (15.3 per cent), Glen Girhiny with 1,182 (14.8 per cent) and Lisa Sygutek with 1,147 (14.4 per cent).

Securing the final spot was Vicki Kubik, who captured 1,081 votes (13.6 per cent).

With 794 votes (10 per cent), Tara Lynn Fletcher was unsuccessful in her bid for council.

Cowley

The Village of Cowley did not hold an election as all three candidates were acclaimed.

Barbara Burnett, Dave Slingerland and Paula Watson will decide amongst themselves which of them will step up as mayor. The decision will be announced in next week’s paper.

Livingstone Range School Division

Three candidates were in the running as trustees for Ward 3 and incumbents Lori Hodges and Lacey Poytress have retained their positions.

Hodges took 1,333 votes (45.9 per cent) and Poytress 1,145 (39.4 per cent), while challenger Purdy Martodihardjo won 425 (14.6 per cent).

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division 

Blake Dolan won a Ward 4 position on the Catholic school board, taking two-thirds of the vote.

Dolan amassed 190 votes while Bart Denie had 94.