School Services / Community

Heart to Heart Valentine’s Day project's 15th Anniversary

Montreal - Friday, February 16, 2018

The English Montreal School Board (EMSB)’s Spiritual and Community Animation service celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Heart to Heart Valentine’s Day toy basket and card drive for the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Originating in 2003 at Michelangelo International School in Rivière des Prairies when Spiritual and Community Animator Vince Lacroce and teacher Sonia Arnoldo worked together to bring some cheer to brain tumor patient Sabrina Di Giandomenico. Sadly, Sabrina passed away as a result of her brain tumor later that year.

In Sabrina’s memory, the project continued to expand over the years, with the goal of spreading the messages of joy, love, hope and community spirit to children who are ill in our community.

For the 15th anniversary, students from General Vanier Elementary School in St. Leonard, Edward Murphy School in Hochelaga Maisonneuve, Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North, Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount, East Hill School in R.D.P. as well as Royal West Academy and Edinburg Elementary School in Montreal West continued the project.

“Over the years, the combined efforts of the Spiritual and Community Animation Service and many EMSB schools have collected thousands of gifts and put together over 1,500 personalized baskets for the patients at the Montreal Children’s Hospital,” said Rocco Speranza, Spiritual and Community Animator. “The program allows students to connect with patients while distributing toys, books, hand made cards and lots of smiles.”

A number of individuals are involved in organizing the expanding program every year, including: Maria Iacono, General Vanier daycare, Clementina Fraga, Gerald McShane daycare; Spiritual and Community Animators Samantha Page Smith, Rocco Speranza and Jag Trehin, Frank Lofeodo, EMSB Consultant for Guidance and Spiritual and Community Animation and from the Montreal Children’s Hospital: Angelika Maselli, Tribute Program Officer and Alessia Di Giorgio, Community Group Relations and Special Events Advisor.

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