Needy families in Whistler are getting a hand this season from the Myrtle Philip Elementary School Parent Advisory Council.
A $500 gift certificate to Nesters won in the PACs annual raffle last year has been anonymously donated to Whistler Community Services.
"This is going to go directly to a number of families and we might even incorporate it into our Christmas Hamper program," said Janet McDonald, executive director of Whistler Community Services, who received the certificate earlier this week at Nesters.
"There are a lot of families who need this. In fact there are a lot more families who need it than step forward for the program. I think some people are a bit shy and feel badly for looking for assistance and they shouldnt.
"The reality is this is an extremely expensive place to live and a lot of the wages are hospitality and seasonal so it can be a struggle."
This years Myrtle Philip raffle will be drawn on Dec. 15. Tickets are available from students and will be on sale at Bizarre Bazaar on Dec. 6 at the Telus Conference Centre at Whistler.
"The tickets are $5 each," said PAC chair Cathy Jewett.
"The proceeds will go to support Myrtle Philip Community school, Spring Creek Community School and Ecole Passerelle. It will go toward enhancing our childrens education, and purchase such things as musical instruments, library books, arts supplies, visiting artists and that sort of thing."
About 25 to 30 per cent of the PACs budget is raised through the raffle each year.
There are all kinds of prizes, from accommodation to ski and snowboard packages.
Top of the list for volunteers is the need for a District Parent Advisory Council representative.
Any Myrtle Philip parent can do it. The representative needs to attend one meeting a month and there is even talk about teleconferencing the meetings. They are usually in Squamish but can be hosted in Whistler.
The PAC also passed a motion this week to pay any expenses the representative might incur, such as mileage.
Having a DPAC member is crucial said Jewett, who has already volunteered to take on the position next year when she steps down as chair of the PAC.
Two important issues are coming up where DPAC representatives will be able to offer input for their schools new funding from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation for technology and library services.
The school board has formed a task force to review library services in the district, which will be seeking DPAC input.
A volunteer is also needed to co-ordinate an Artist in Residence program at the school.
Myrtle Philip has hosted several such programs in the past with great success and it is hoped more can be arranged soon, said Jewett. Some funding is available for the artist who would come into the school and organize a project for every grade over several days or weeks.
A PAC committee led by Jewett will be formulating a school survey before the next PAC meeting Dec. 9 (one week earlier than normal due to the Christmas rush). The PAC wants to hear from everyone on a range of issues aimed at making the organization a more effective voice for parents.
Programs will be offered starting Jan. 5 from 3 to 4 p.m. at the school.
Grades 1 and 2 will have classes on Tuesdays and Grades 3 and 4 will have classes on Thursday.
Parents need to pre-register for the class (see forthcoming PAC newsletter for registration details), as space is limited. Each session will be 10 classes long and cost $90.
Report cards will be heading home Nov. 28.
The next coffee morning will be held Dec. 5 at 8:30 am all parents welcome.
The annual writing day will also be held Dec. 5.
The Christmas concert will be held Dec. 10.
Spring Creek will have its official leaving ceremony at Myrtle Philip on Dec. 15. The new school will open in the new year.