Among the estimated 20,000 students and teachers at We Day Vancouver Oct. 18 were 22 Grade 6 and 7 students from Sir Matthew Begbie elementary in Hastings-Sunrise.
True to the event’s spirit, they’ve given 50 micro-loans to projects around the world over the past five years to help alleviate poverty.
We Day is an event and a movement of young people leading local and global change. Participants must earn their entrance with local and global service.
Teacher M.J. Moran’s Grade 6 and 7 students have donated to B.C. Children’s Hospital, the food bank and the Downtown Eastside. They jog in the Terry Fox Run and raise money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, UNICEF and micro-loans for the San Francisco-based nonprofit Kiva.
The students sell blank greeting cards with their art on the front on parent-teacher night to raise money for Kiva. Pairs of students choose which project will receive their $25 micro-loan. Photos of the people connected to the projects they’ve chosen and an explanation about their choice are posted at the school.
“I like global [work] because you get to learn about different lives and how they live,” said 12-year-old Kaylin Chan.
“[Students] can relate to having a single mom trying to get a job or somebody trying to open a farm business in different places around the world,” added Moran.
“I have learned that if we keep on doing this we can make a difference, far more lives would be saved and with hard work we can do anything,” said Grade 7 student Mursal Amani.
“Awesome,” was how the students described We Day Vancouver, which included Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations and Nobel peace laureate, Avril Lavigne, pop star and founder and president of the Avril Lavigne Foundation, and the honourable Roméo Dallaire, lieutenant-general and author. The event was held at Rogers Arena.
Krystal Tan was most taken with Martin Luther King III, who told students to let go, have fun and that anything is possible.
Tan likes the requirement for students to earn their entrance with meaningful work.
“It makes me feel really, really proud,” the 12-year-old said.
Others wonder how Moran can fit extra activities in with the curriculum.“It is the curriculum,” she said. “There’s no separating this from social studies and science and language.
The novels we read have to do with this kind of work and the math we do, it is textbook math, but it’s connected to how we raise money and how other people live and science is like that as well.”
Since 2007, youth involved with We Day have raised $37 million for more than 1,000 local and global causes.
Citywide PAC meeting
Seismic safety, money for playgrounds, access to technology and playground safety were reported to be of greatest concern to parents at the citywide parent advisory council meeting Oct. 17. The Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council hosted 81 participants from more than 41 schools, an improvement from last year’s attendance by 68 parents from 31 schools.
Having up-to-date textbooks and one for every student in a class was also identified as a concern.