Martin Paul and Shelby Dorfman, Leadership Facilitators and Motivational Speakers with WE Schools, speak to students at Highlands Elementary
Anyone can change the world – particularly young people. This message was one of the key takeaways grades four to seven students at Highlands Elementary School were recently inspired by at a special WE Schools assembly hosted at their school. The school was selected as one of five in the Lower Mainland to host the assembly and a subsequent workshop.
"We chose this school because we are so amazed at what you have done to give back locally and globally," said Martin Paul, Leadership Facilitator and Motivational Speaker, WE Schools.
Highlands Elementary has a WE club consisting of roughly 30 grades six and seven students. This school year they have been undertaking one initiative a month to support others in need. Thus far, they have helped fight hunger by supporting the Harvest Project, have demonstrated environmental stewardship through various sustainability initiatives, and have helped families in Kenya by selling handmade Kenyan bracelets to raise money for a village in that country.
"The WE club is a group of true leaders. They are passionate, keen and positive. And the reaction from the broader school community to the WE initiatives is incredible," said Kathleen Baker, teacher, Highlands Elementary.
The purpose of the WE assembly was to provide additional motivation for students.
"Think about what you are passionate about and what's your goal for the year to change the world," said Shelby Dorfman, Leadership Facilitator and Motivational Speaker with WE Schools, to the crowd of students gathered in the Highlands Elementary gymnasium.
Several students stood up and shared how they will change the world. One said she will participate in meaningful fundraisers. Another spoke of his passion to support outdoor learning experiences for all students. Several spoke of their desire to end poverty. A young girl expressed her desire to fight cyber-bullying.
Cyber-bullying was an additional focus of the assembly. Students were encouraged to use social media to do good and to do what they can to prevent others from using it to bully.
"Bullying these days is a different beast than it was 15 years ago because of cyber-bullying. Nowadays, bullying follows us everywhere. The phones in our pockets are powerful," Dorfman told the students. "Let's commit to ending cyber-bullying."
Following the assembly, the WE club students were provided with a workshop led by Paul and Dorfman.
"Hopefully the assembly inspired you to make positive social change," said Baker to her students at the start of the workshop.
All of the students expressed an eagerness to continue with their efforts to help others. They also enthusiastically started to brainstorm what endeavours they will undertake next to positively change the world. Within a week of the WE Schools workshop, six students decided to host a food drive as part of the school's upcoing movie night. They made posters, talked to each class, and made announcements to encourage the school to bring a non-perishable food item to movie night. Donations were given to The Harvest Project.