February 20, 2019 6:04 pm

Grandmothers join Edmonton high school students in charitable game of Scrabble

Raminder Gill and Vicki Strang play a game of Scrabble together

Morgan Black/Global News
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Grandmothers and high school students teamed up to have some F-U-N with a classic board game on Wednesday.

W.P. Wagner welcomed 25 grandmothers for the Power of Words 2019, an intergenerational Scrabble tournament and fundraiser.

The 90 student participants are divided into groups and paired with a granny to collaboratively work together on a single board.

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Grandmothers of Alberta for a New Generation — who refer to themselves as “The G.A.N.G” — work to raise money to assist their counterparts in Africa, who have been left to raise families on their own due to the AIDS pandemic.

Their work is part of a larger collaboration to help fund the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

READ MORE: Sherwood Park grannies helping African grandmothers raising orphaned children: ‘We feel a connection with them’

Citizenship and solidarity was the theme of Wednesday’s tournament, with grandmothers collecting monetary pledges before, during and after the tournament.

Trudy Oatway, department head of social studies at W.P. Wagner, has worked with the grandmothers before on other charity initiatives.

“The students didn’t know that much about the plight of HIV and African grandmothers having to raise entire families on their own until the grandmothers came in and shared those stories,” Oatway said. “Solidarity was the word that everyone started with on the Scrabble board. We are all in this together and we can all make a difference.”

Vicki Strang is part of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. She has traveled to Africa to see the impact of The G.A.N.G.

“I’ve visited some of the projects that the Stephen Lewis Foundation supports. Our funds that we are raising today go there. The grandmothers there are trying to rebuild their communities, their families. We are here to help them achieve that end, and they are being successful.”

W.P. Wagner students join seniors for a game of Scrabble.

Morgan Black/Global News

Grade 12 student Raminder Gill joined the tournament with her social studies class. Wednesday was her first time playing Scrabble.

“I had never heard about this program before. Now, we’re playing Scrabble to help raise awareness and help them with their pledges,” Gill said.

“Honestly, the fact that we’re doing this through such a fun way is a really big deal. You don’t have to do a huge thing, a little thing can make a big difference.”

Gill said she also learned she “needs to expand her vocabulary” after playing the game.

READ MORE: Knotty Grandmas: Edmonton seniors quilt for a great cause

Meanwhile, grandma Grace Hamilton added some new words to her vocabulary thanks to her younger teammates.

“They are coming up with all these hip words that I’ve never used before!” Hamilton laughed. “I love my team. I would play Scrabble with them anytime.”

This is the second year of the event at W.P Wagner.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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