North Memorial School in Portage la Prairie received an offer from a Manitoba First Nations Police Services recruit in training to have some events involving the recruits at the school to help facilitate good relations between school children and police officers. Principal Valerie Smith was thrilled with the idea and seized upon the opportunity. 

This past Wednesday, March 20, saw the Grade 6 students hold a thank-you event for the recruits called The Grizzly Cafe.  

"We've been so lucky to have the recruits join our school," says Smith. "They've been such a wonderful addition to our school community. They have given up all their time to do things like sports activities with our kids, toast deliveries, and they've done reading with our students. They've just given all their time to our kids, and our students have just loved it. They've joined Walking School Bus with staff. They've been a fantastic partnership with our community and we're very sad to see it come to an end today."

She explains the students put together the Grizzly Cafe having spent an entire morning preparing food and lunch for the recruits and themselves. Smith says they gave Thank You cards to the recruits and made a banner to be hung in the MFNPS detachment to thank them. 

"I think it's really important to teach kids gratitude. It is always so easy to receive, but it is important to learn how to give back when you receive a gift from someone. Our First Nations recruits have been a gift to us, and I want to thank them and our whole school wants to thank them for their time."

She adds the students prepared vegetables and cleaned them for the lunch, cut croissants, they put it all together, and notes they enjoyed being waiters and waitresses and handing it out and enjoying quality time in a social setting. It's all to build stronger relationships with the officers.

Grade 6 student Anastaciia adds, "They played many games with us in the gym early morning. They made breakfast for us and that's really nice. They also did a Walking School bus with the little kids and helped out on the playground. What I found most fun was playing the games and probably talking to them because they were really nice people. " 

Fellow student Blaire says she helped prepare food, saying, "I cut the carrots and peeled them and set out the lunch kits for them. I found most fun playing in the gym with them, like dodgeball and basketball." 

Shay adds, "I feel it is good to thank people because they might be having a bad day and maybe that 'thank you' will make their day and, they might be going through some things in their personal life. Maybe that might cheer up their day and make them feel special." 

Grade 6 teacher Natalie Clink says the students had a great time creating the lunch and created a banner, learning life skills, and celebrating with a wind-up get-together lunch. She notes the students would love to do this again sometime.  

"It was fun learning life skills, so we'd like to do it again if we get the opportunity." 

They ended their celebration with a game of dodgeball.

Click on photos below to enlarge.