By Andrea Yeo, Seycove Secondary Teacher
Seycove Secondary’s Social Justice 12 is a course that teaches students they are never too young to make a difference in the world. After learning about various perspectives relating to different social justice issues such as poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, homophobia, reconciliation, and also studying human rights and analysing the cycle of socialization, students then choose a project they are passionate about to bring about change for a cause.
It is amazing to see these students tackle their projects. Students report that it does not feel like work because they are genuinely inspired by their projects and their cause, and the growth they see in themselves. It is inspiring, particularly during these COVID-19 times, to see students who are motivated and driven to spread positivity in their school, and local and global communities.
Below are is a sample of some of the final action plan projects that Seycove’s Social Justice 12 students have produced. This blog post is part two of a two-part series.
Local Youth Homelessness
Lilian Robertson focused her action plan on local youth homelessness. She chose to support and advocate for Covenant House Vancouver, a charity that supports youth in need with respect and unconditional love. As Lilian shared, “This topic is important to me because youth are our future, and we need to support them with the tools necessary to successfully transition to adulthood.”
Lilian created a poster to share the stories of some of the youth who benefited from Covenant House. She also plans on volunteering her time and donating food and clothing to the organization. This project inspired Lilian to continue on with this work: “It’s shown me what I’m capable of.”
“A Safe Place”
Luca Jacoe created the website A Safe Place to provide education and resources for Vancouver youth struggling with their mental health. “Through surveys and research on mental health in youth, I felt there was a resource missing: a simple site where youth could seek support and understand the feelings they are experiencing,” explains Luca.
Using the slogan Youth Supporting Youth, the website is a welcoming, comfortable and relatable source for youth hoping to better understand their mental health. Luca encourages youth and adults to visit the site, use the resources provided to learn about mental health and take the next step to reach out for help.
Children in Armed Conflict
Sofia chose to focus her action plan on children in armed conflict. She created a GoFundMe page to bring awareness to the social injustice these children face and raise funds for the non-profit, The Innocence Lost Foundation.
The goal of the Innocence Lost Foundation is to provide former child soldiers with recovery through education, skills, training and therapy facilities. All donations will go towards building a community centre in Kabala, Sierra Leone, where there will be classes and workshops, along with a water well and a small medical clinic.
Sofia’s action plan included educating herself on this issue, learning about charitable and community supports for these children, bringing awareness to others within the community, as well as raising money to help support the children.
Through the project, Sofia developed her research skills, and learned a lot about this topic, these children’s’ lives, and the horrible circumstances they are forced into. “I have moved out of my comfort zone and into an area of helping others. I’ve also gained an understanding that there are many injustices in the world, and no amount of help is too small.”
Children in Poverty
Manny’s action plan goal was to help children in poverty. Manny fundraised in order to partner with Samaritan's Purse and be a part of Operation Christmas Child, “so I could pack shoeboxes full of gifts, which will be sent to Africa.”
Youth and Drug Addiction
Kaiya Perkins and Taylor Slater
Kaiya and Taylor created a petition requesting the provincial government consider improving the rehabilitation system currently in place for youth struggling with drug addiction. “Addiction is a highly prevalent, yet stigmatized issue; therefore, it does not get the attention required.”
Kaiya and Taylor spoke with MLA Susie Chant during a North Vancouver District council meeting to bring awareness to the issue in the hopes of bringing change within the community. “During the Social Justice 12 course at Seycove, we have become advocates and learned how our small actions can create a major difference.”
Students with Diverse Abilities
Chantal feels passionate about learning disabilities and having teachers and school staff understand what it is like for students with ADHD. Chantal created a video that explained her personal experiences. She wanted it shared with all staff to help to reduce the stigma as it pertains to ADHD and other learning disabilities.