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Benefactors in Vaasa

Happiness is in small deeds, and good things are built together! Check out the stories of Vaasa's benefactors below.

Vamia: Sustainable Development Week

During the week, a technology fair was organised for vocational schools and universities in the region in cooperation with Green Skills Vaasa. Young people had a great opportunity to participate in these seminars and workshops. The students organised collections of electronic waste, clothes, and toys. Community spirit promoting activities were also considered important: young people spent time together in nature and made artworks with things they found in nature and with leftover materials from different departments. A workshop where students could come up with ideas for a corporate gift to the City of Vaasa made from recycled materials was also quite popular. Beauty students organised a charity afternoon at Parcos.

The sustainability week is over, but the work and good deeds around the theme continue. The students will continue to reflect with their teachers on sustainable development from the perspective of each of the school’s fields of education.

Volunteering in Vaasa

Where should you start volunteering, and why should you do it at all? Why, for example, is a Sunday walk not only a good workout, but also a good deed?

The VaasaCast podcast discusses these questions with Helena Kyröläinen and Harry Swaljung from Vaasan Kävelyklubi ry, Hanken student and tutor Milla Ilmarinen, and Vaasa-based benefactor Marianne Ala-Kitula.

Listen to the VaasaCast episode, meet Vaasa’s many benefactors and get tips for good deeds, big and small!

Good deeds at the Ristinummi daycare centre

Schools and daycares have joined the Year of Good Deeds! On Ristinummi daycare centre’s wall, you can find a heart of good deeds; a collection of good deeds made by children. The heart includes small everyday things like helping a friend.

─ The kids have come up with great ideas. First, we chatted a bit about what good deeds can be. You could say something nice to a friend or help clean up,” says Mira Puolamäki, early childhood education teacher.

The daycare centre in Ristinummi also jointly discussed who they would like to thank for doing good deeds in everyday life. Children had the chance to write their thanks on cards, which were then sent to the recipients. The children sent thanks, for example, to cleaners, cooks, and bus and taxi drivers.

Good deeds at Onkilahti Comprehensive School

At the end of the year, Onkilahti Comprehensive School celebrated a month of good deeds. The student body encouraged all pupils to take part in it. The month of good deeds included a wide range of activities. Before Christmas, pupils from the primary-level music classes performed in a restaurant and in several preschools a set of Finnish songs in Star Singers’ style as well as other Christmas carols.

On the secondary school’s side, the student body came up with a Christmas calendar of good deeds. Each day, a small, good deed was revealed, which could be done either at school or during free time. The good deeds in the calendar included praising a friend, opening the door for someone else, or smiling at someone on the street.

In addition to the Christmas calendar, the secondary school pupils had a hobby week and the school introduced ”talk to me” badges. Pupils who wore a badge were ready to chat about anything that might have weighed on someone’s mind.

The badges were Laura Tammenmaa’s favourite thing during the month of good deeds.

– The badges didn’t require a lot of work, but they could be very helpful,” says Tammenmaa.

Laura Tammenmaa (left), Sanni Lehtinen, and Emma Sandelin joined in organising the month of good deeds at Onkilahti Comprehensive School.

Find a Bugsy and Do a Good Deed!

A girl hangs knitted squid on the fence.

For a few months now, as part of Taikon’s basic art education, maritime-themed, happiness-inducing ”bugsies” have been created! In addition to Mirka Johansson, teachers Anne Viinikka and Matilda Byström, along with the students, are behind the initiative. The theme for the year at Taikon is ”On the World’s Seas,” and this is also reflected in the happiness-bringing bugsy.

Johansson says that she had been reflecting on how handicrafts and a small piece of art could be combined in a task given to students; something that would bring a smile to the finder. Children have made, among other things, octopuses and turtles out of yarn, accompanied by a small message. Even the yarn itself is the result of a good deed, as it was donated to Taikon by the Vöyri yarn shop.

If you find a Bugsy, you can give it a new home, as it would be truly happy about that. Bugsies live on little smiles, so you don’t need to feed it, nor do you need to take it out for a walk. Around 100 bugsies will venture out into the world, and one can be found hanging from a tree branch, atop a fence, on a bus, in a shopping center – really, anywhere, Johansson guides the search.

Good Deeds from the People of Vaasa: Meet Raimo

The snow gradually melts away and reveals the litter hidden beneath. Here, Vaasa resident Raimo Sanjola emerges as a true environmental hero who has, for the past 20 years, been dedicated to keeping the nature of Vaasa clean. With accustomed meticulous precision, Raimo has documented the trash he’s collected over the years, totalling around 100,000 items during his retirement days.

– I retired 20 years ago, and I couldn’t stand seeing trash littered in nature. Retirement also meant exploring different forms of exercise, and while picking up trash, I’ve managed to squeeze in around 100,000 squats, Sanjola chuckles.

Sanjola maintains that the litter he picks from nature consists mainly of cigarette butts, candy wrappers, bottles, and cans.

– I’ve already earned over three euros this year by collecting bottles, Sanjola adds.

Sanjola’s hope is to inspire fellow Vaasa residents to take care of the environment and follow his lead in cleaning up nature.

– Everyone should pick up trash to understand how laborious it can be and the costs involved! The money we now use on cleaning and repairs could be used for better purposes, like building sports fields, Sanjola muses.

For Sanjola, picking up litter has become a hobby that he continues during walks with his wife.

– It’s like a bug you can’t shake off, and yet, it’s a habit worth keeping because it’s such a good deed, Sanjola says.

Borgaregatans School: Good Deeds Competition

At Borgaregatans Skola, good deeds have been the flavour of the spring term. Each class brainstormed ideas for good deeds, and then each grade voted on the best one to implement. This delightful competition was the brainchild of teacher Amanda Fors. The City of Vaasa’s Year of Good Deeds inspired her to think about what the school could achieve collectively.

– A competition like this, where pupils brainstorm together, is perfect for spring. The pupils were very enthusiastic about the project. We ran a similar project a couple of years ago, so it’s likely these good deeds will continue, Fors explains.

Eighth-graders Lina Koivulahti, Linnea Loo, and Emma Krooks shared their class’s idea: to brighten up one of the classrooms for everyone’s enjoyment.

– Decorating the classroom was a fun project because a colourful school environment cheers everyone up. The colours really made us feel happier, as the room would have been quite dull otherwise, says Lina Koivulahti from class 8E.

Seventh-graders Selma Haavisto, Frida Närvä, Cedric Mäkynen, and Ahti Haavisto took part in class 7D’s good deed, which targeted the school kitchen staff. The pupils created a thank-you poster and gifted them some chocolate. The idea came from teacher Evelina Lönnqvist, but the pupils actively ideated how to carry it out.

– They work hard and cook for us every day. We’re really grateful to them, so we wanted to make them smile, explains Selma Haavisto.

– They were all very happy and thanked us a lot. It was the first time they’d received such a surprise, adds Cedric Mäkynen, who was involved in delivering the thank-you gifts to the kitchen staff.

Ninth-grade elective art pupils also joined the good deeds competition by painting artworks, which they donated to the children’s ward at Vaasa Central Hospital.