Passing Down the Torch: CBU Student Passes Along Fundraising Tradition

Submitted Photo: Mary-Lynn Brinson and Katherine Macdonald making their first presentation to Townhouse.

Mary-Lynn Brinson is about to graduate from the Bachelor of Education (BEd) program at Cape Breton University and is proud to say that a fundraising campaign she started as a student will be carried on by new members of CBU’s Education Society.

Mary-Lynn is from Grand Bank, Newfoundland, and completed her undergraduate degree by distance at CBU. Following her graduation, she decided to make the move to Cape Breton to complete her BEd, bringing along her son, while her husband and daughter remained in Newfoundland.

When Mary-Lynn arrived on campus, she discovered that the Education Society at CBU had been inactive for a few years and was keen to re-establish the society with her new classmates. After rallying some support and hosting an election, Mary-Lynn was chosen as President of the society and began to develop and establish the Backpacks Initiative, which would become her legacy.

“Back to school time can be stressful on families financially; often times parents are choosing between supplies and groceries,” says Mary-Lynn, “so we teamed up with Townhouse in Glace Bay and started to collect donations.”

Mary-Lynn and the Education Society collected everything from notebooks and pencils to calculators and the backpacks to store them in, and made their first large donation in 2017. The fully stocked backpacks were distributed to children in need all over Cape Breton.

Before heading back to Newfoundland, Mary-Lynn wanted to ensure that the initiative would be in good hands following her departure, and hopes this year’s campaign will drive even more donations than the last.

“I’ve met with the new class of BEd students and they’ve agreed to continue with the Backpack Initiative. I am beyond thrilled!” says Mary-Lynn.

Mary-Lynn is confident that future members of the Education Society will continue to see value in this initiative for years to come, and says the sense of community at CBU really allows projects like this to thrive.

This year, the initiative will focus on collecting the lesser known but equally needed items such as scientific calculators and math sets.

“Education is the most powerful tool we can give children to break the cycle of poverty. Initiatives such as this go beyond putting a pencil in a child’s hand,” says Mary-Lynn.

Mary-Lynn can close this chapter of her journey feeling proud of what she has accomplished at CBU as she passes her campaign along to the next generation of BEd students. We are confident that her dedication and passion will make her an invaluable educator.