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Waterloo Region teacher Kara Klypycz receives ETFO Local Humanitarian Award

"The Pumpkin Queen" raises money for local United Way at Halloween

For Immediate Release – August 13, 2019

TORONTO - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has given its 2019 Local Humanitarian Award to Waterloo Region teacher Kara Klypycz for growing a community Halloween project into a fundraiser for United Way.

The award recognizes an ETFO member who has given outstanding service to supporting children in the local community.

For Waterloo Region occasional teacher Kara Klypycz, Halloween has become a way to unite communities, bring joy to children and adults and raise funds for charity. She's become well- known as 'The Pumpkin Queen' in the City of Cambridge and Region of Waterloo for a project that started with her carving intricate designs on pumpkins for the October 31st celebration. As more friends, neighbours and media came to her home to view the pumpkins, she had a vision for a larger purpose.

In 2017, Kara approached the local United Way office to build her project as a fundraising opportunity. Members of the charity now assist with distributing candy and collecting donations. This year Snyder's Family Farm donated many pumpkins to supplement the few Kara can grow in her garden. In the last two years, she has donated about $3,000 to United Way. Just as importantly, many students have been inspired to artistically create their own pumpkin carvings and support her efforts. Kara's message to students about her project is that setting challenging goals and working hard to achieve them is how they can make a difference.

"As her nominators have noted, Kara has not waited or hoped that 'someone else will make a grand gesture'," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "Kara has worked creatively and with enormous diligence to build local community spirit based on helping those in need."

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. ETFO's Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at