Community Superheroes Leap for Charity

Posted On Wednesday March 11, 2020
(L-R) Bolton C. Falby PS Teacher Jennifer Groff, Principal Conor Jinkinson, Vice Principal Stephanie Cleveland, and Teacher Laura Auglay were known as the “Bolton C. Falby PS Superheroes” at the Ajax Rotary Polar Plunge.

Durham Region residents leapt into Lake Ontario to support the breakfast program at Bolton C. Falby Public School

On a chilly February 29th morning, Durham Region residents, decked out in their favourite superhero get-ups, gathered at Ajax Rotary Park to take the Polar Plunge into Lake Ontario.

“Today’s goal is the awareness piece,” explains Rob Davidson, Chair of the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Employee Charity Campaign. “We have a need in our community. There’s an opportunity for us to resolve that need, and that’s done through community awareness.”

OPG, the Rotary Club of Ajax, and the Durham District School Board (DDSB)’s Make a Difference Poverty Strategy Program teamed up to organize a fundraising event called Ajax Rotary Polar Plunge: Leaping for Charity. The goal of the event was to raise at least $10,000 for the breakfast program at Bolton C. Falby Public School in Ajax, and to raise awareness for the breakfast program itself.

Davidson says Conor Jinkinson, the school’s Principal, mentioned that it costs approximately $10,000 per year for the school to run their breakfast program. And on the day of the event, Davidson and Lon Harnish (co-organizer of the event and member of the Rotary Club of Ajax) announced they had raised over $11,000 for the program.

“The impact this will have is huge,” notes Jinkinson. “Often when we talk about Ignite Learning in the DDSB, we have to ask how we can ensure that all of our students are ready to learn at their absolute optimum ability. They need a full belly to be able to learn on a daily basis.” Jinkinson adds that their breakfast program feeds approximately 150 students each day from Monday to Friday.

The funds were raised through community partner sponsorships, participant contributions, and contributions from anyone who just wanted to make a difference.

Superheroes Making an Impact

As the event theme was superheroes, all the polar plungers were dressed in their favourite superhero outfits, ready to take on the dreaded freezing water. The “Bolton C. Falby PS Superheroes” were dressed in bulldog-blue capes and masks proudly showing their school colours.

After approximately 25 participants plunged into the frigid lake, everyone (including about 100 spectators) gathered in the heating tent for some hot chocolate and much-needed warmth.

Back inside the main building, Ajax Rotary Polar Plunge: Leaping for Charity ended with a few words from the organizers, Principal Jinkinson, and a brief awards ceremony.

The awards included: Best Costume, Best Team Costume, Biggest Fundraiser, and Biggest Fundraising Team. DDSB’s very own Bolton C. Falby PS Superheroes won the award for Best Team Costume!

Everyone who attended the event left with a swag bag that included a universal charger, heating pads, a re-usable Starbucks cup and more, provided by the event sponsors. The front of the swag bags also included a special thank you to attendees.

Davidson says they’re aiming to make this an annual event benefitting Bolton C. Falby PS, but notes that other schools in Durham Region and beyond also have a need for sustainable student nutrition. “If we can get other organizations to emulate the success of what’s happening today, that would be the ultimate community win.”