Grade 8 students from two schools in Olds have been working together on an important community project.  

Olds has been rallying behind the Mountain View Emergency Shelter Society to build an emergency shelter in town, called Kristen’s Place after Kristen Gardner was killed in a domestic violence case in Bowden in 2021.   

Students from École Deer Meadow School painted a decaying wood fence purple, the symbol of domestic violence, before taking the boards down to create benches for the emergency shelter.  

“When our students were together there was such a powerful connection. It was so powerful that people were drawn into the space to witness what these kids were doing,” said Sandi Hoppins, a teacher at École Deer Meadow School. “These students will be a force in this community. When they understand that they can make a difference, it’s beautiful.”  

Students from Holy Trinity School joined in on the project, by drying and measuring the boards so that the wood could be converted into benches.  

“The Holy Trinity students had a great time gathering, drying, and prepping the boards for the large group painting session,” said Monica Andrew, a teacher at Holy Trinity School. “We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate and bring students from both schools together to build community and contribute to the Mountain View Emergency Shelter initiative.”  

Olds students painting messages on fence boards. Olds Deer Meadow and Holy Trinity students added positive and encouraging phrases and quotes to the fence boards that will be used to create benches for the Mountain View Emergency Shelter Society emergency shelter. 
Photo provided by Chinook's Edge School Division.

Last week Deer Meadow students walked to Holy Trinity, and together the students from both schools added positive and encouraging phrases and quotes to the boards. They are calling it a “Legacy Project” because it is what they are giving to their community at the end of their middle school years before entering high school.  

Kendra Weisbrodt, a Success Coach with the Youth Empowerment & Support (YES) program came up with the idea and coordinated with the schools, project leaders, and the emergency shelter society.   

“We were blown away by the creativity and involvement of the students, and their initiative in doing what they can to help,” said Dale Rosehill, who is on the Board of Kirsten’s Place. “This is such a thoughtful idea. Having youth that age get involved is important. And it’s also good that students this age are considering what is a healthy relationship.” 



**With information provided by Chinook's Edge School Division.