Christmas has come early for one neighbourhood in Winnipeg as Bruce Middle School students hang some hand-painted ornaments in front of the hospital.

"We have a little tradition around here," says Erin Acorn, a teacher at Bruce Middle School. "It started in 2020. Our grade 7 students paint and decorate ornaments to put up in the community."

While it started as a pandemic project, Acorn saw the benefits of this project and decided to keep it going. This year it'll be the third time her class is doing this. 

"When looking at the concept of mental health, and how to take care of ourselves and others, we wanted to reach out to the community and give something back. It's grown into something big."

Once the Bruce Middle School students have painted the ornaments, they take a day and hang them up in the green space in front of the Grace Hospital. People walking by can take them and enjoy a new ornament on their Christmas tree. 

"So much of our learning is social/emotional. Helping kids figure out who they are as social human beings and learn more about other people, how we're all different but can still be all the same. Giving kids the opportunity to take this learning and put it into a real scenario and see real action and perform real action is so important."

Acorn continues to receive positive feedback from people. 

"Every year we get positive messaging back from the community Facebook groups, thanking us for what we're doing. This past year, the number of people that have said, 'I have an ornament from two years ago, and one from last year, and I'm looking forward to receiving one this year.' It's almost becoming a family tradition for other people in the community too."