Two young Clinton sisters were honoured last week for their efforts to raise money in the memory of the 215 children discovered this year at the Kamloops Residential School.
Jasmine Francis, 8, and her sister Serenity, 5, were presented with ceremonial drums and blankets by members of the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc at David Stoddart School last week.
The girls raised close to $2,000 earlier this year selling bannock and juice boxes to go towards costs associated with the recovery and identification of the children’s remains.
Their mother, Megan Francis, said the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc reached out to her about organizing a way to honour the girls, so they arranged the visit with the school and kept it a surprise until Oct. 26.
“It was really exciting, they were given drums and blankets that were presented to each of them in their classroom,” Francis said. “The girls thought it was really nice.”
The family also received a letter from Kukpi7 Roseanne Casimir on behalf of Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc council thanking Jasmine for her efforts.
“Your kindness, compassion and inspirational leadership skills make us proud and confident in the next generation of Secwepemc youth,” the letter reads. “We know that your great grandparents, Leonard Francis and Elizabeth Billy, are so honoured and blessed that you performed this beautiful gesture on behalf of all of those that attended the Kamloops Residential School; especially those children who were not able to return home to their families.”
Francis’ grandparents, who were referenced in the letter, were residential school survivors, she noted.
The fundraising efforts aren’t over just yet for Jasmine. The youngster wants to continue lending a helping hand but Francis said she is not quite sure what that will look like.
“I’m very proud of her and I didn’t expect the sale to raise so much money,” Francis said. “And if it wasn’t for the amazing town of Clinton supporting her she probably wouldn’t have.”