This report comes to us from Durham School Board Teacher Holly Richard:
This past May, Ajax High School participated in the YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada program, a federally-funded program in which 16 Ajax students were “twinned” with 14 students from Sunchild First Nation School, Alberta. In order to fulfill the community engagement aspect of the program, our group chose to bring Project of Heart to local elementary students in grades 7 and 8. Not only did Project of Heart provide an amazing leadership opportunity for Ajax students, but it also provided nearly 250 young students with a an impacting, eye-opening, humbling message that stirred emotions for many. This was particularly true for the few groups in which members of the Sunchild group felt comfortable enough to speak about the impact of the IRS system on their own families.
The Project of Heart sessions were run entirely by students at five local elementary schools. Each group was comprised of 3 to 4 Ajax students and 3 to 4 Sunchild students, and each session was a half day in length. Groups were provided with kits that included a detailed lesson plan, a student handout, various newspaper articles, Project of Heart tiles, black permanent markers, and a talking stick. Each session included a talking circle, newspaper article analysis in groups, and completion of the tiles. Follow-up activities such as communication with a local MP or MPP were encouraged.
Project of Heart wants to thank teachers Holly Richard and Kyle Revill for their innovative, empowering, and ultimately transforming approach to integrating Project of Heart into their community. A new relationship is being built as we speak, where our hopes for the future will be based on our actions NOW.