Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
From sympathy to understanding
The journey for We Day students is profound
School: Gimli High School
The Cause: Addressing Poverty Issues Locally, Provincially, and Internationally
Locally, we have supported our local food bank (Evergreen Basic Needs) through a Halloween ‘Trick or Eat’ Food Drive collecting nearly 1,100 lbs of food.
Provincially, we have volunteered at Siloam Mission in Winnipeg to offer assistance in a practical way.
Locally, we are studying the roots of poverty in our ‘Issues in Social Justice’ class at school.
Internationally, we are taking 13 students to El Salvador this summer with Habitat For Humanity to help build a home for a family in the San Miguel region.
Students at Gimli High School have been on a journey to address the issue of poverty for many years. The group is evolving from a place where it was content raising funds or collecting food to a place where it is asking the questions, such as ‘why are people poor?" This then helps transform our efforts from an attitude of sympathy and charity to a desire for justice. However, this also demands that we challenge the status quo in our lives, our schools, and our society. We challenge ourselves to recognize the ways in which we are privileged by the status quo, and how unearned privilege can consciously and unconsciously contribute to the existence of poverty.
What is encouraging about the students at Gimli High School is that they are increasingly independent in taking on practical ways to address this issue. One student decided with a friend to start a ‘Tom Shoes’ campaign at our school, where students walk barefoot in solidarity with those who have no choice but to be without shoes. Two other students planned a ‘fair trade coffee house’ at a local coffee shop to deepen our community’s commitment to and understanding of fair trade issues.
These events were not initiated by adults. Students at GHS have demonstrated that they believe that citizenship has everything to do with being agents of change in their school, community, and world. The students tackled poverty issues, not only in terms of raising money through the 30 Hour Famine, the Halloween Trick or Eat Campaign, or the Social Justice Garage Sale, but by raising awareness about the lack of affordable housing in Gimli, educating the public about myths surrounding poverty, and asking the "why" question.
— Youth participating in Free The Children’s We Day Manitoba are writing regularly about how they are taking action and supporting local and global causes through the organization’s We Schools in Action year-long program. We Day Manitoba takes place Oct. 30, 2012 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. For more information, visit www.weday.com
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