Grade 6 student leaders Enobong Akpainyang (left), Anna Heffernan (middle), and Gwyn Latus (right) came up with the idea after choosing to study refugees entering Canada as one of their end-of-year school projects in accordance with the IB PYP program.
Welcoming New Canadians with School Supplies
Students at Lakecrest Independent School led a school supplies fundraiser initiative to help welcome refugees and their families to Newfoundland and Labrador. Three students spearheaded a campaign to donate new school supplies to the Association for New Canadians (ANC). This is the second community outreach initiative by the Grade six class at the school in 2021.
Cultural Awareness Turned Into Action
The three students were inspired after their grade six class took part in the Association for New Canadians’ Anti-Racism training program. Not only did they receive training in cultural awareness, but from this program, the group learned that in order to help their community, they would have to go to the source and ask how they could effectively help.
Student’s Helping Hands Made Quick Work
Anna, Enobong, and Gwyn sprung into action. They started by making connections with representatives from the ANC. The group of three wanted to know about ways they could help welcome refugees and their families arriving in our province. They learned that many newcomers and their families are in need of school supplies. So, in true Lakecrest fashion, Anna, Enobong, and Gwyn encouraged their peers to get involved. News of the initiative quickly spread throughout the school. What was just a simple act of kindness by three students, blossomed into a school-wide initiative with the whole school making contributions.
Motivated by an International Baccalaureate Education
In the final year of the International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Program (IB PYP), students participate in a culminating project known as the Exhibition. Students are required to engage in a collaborative transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating, and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems. The central idea must be of sufficient scope and significance to warrant a detailed investigation by all students.
Natasha Hart, Grade six teacher, and International Baccalaureate Assistant Coordinator commented on the initiative of her students, saying “In order to care for each other, we must learn about the people in our community and their needs. Helping is easy; if my students can learn that at the age of 12, I think we have a bright future!”
Helping New Canadians Settle Into Newfoundland and Labrador
Tilak Chawan, Child and Youth Programs Coordinator with the Association for New Canadians, was pleased to accept the donation. He knows just how challenging it can be for newcomers who arrive in Canada and have to find school supplies. It can be an additional financial burden that can be hard to bear for new arrivals. He commented on the initiative saying “It is so important for our children to understand what refugee means… what immigrant means… and more importantly, what refugee life could be.” The COVID-19 pandemic has created even more challenges while working with newcomers. Tilak also mentioned that “As one of the refugees in this province, I know exactly how much it means to the refugee students. Being able to avail to this kind of school supplies will directly have an impact on the wellbeing of new Canadians.”
We spoke with Enobong, Anna, and Gwyn along with Tilak from the Association for New Canadians on the day of the donation to see how the students help welcome new Canadians to the province. See the full story in the video link below.
Plans for Future Community Involvement
All three students, Anna, Enobong, and Gwyn expressed a strong interest in continuing to stay involved in their community in any way they can. The group told us that they are looking forward to expanding their fundraising efforts and contributions to the community as they move to grade seven in September and begin the next phase of their education. Be sure to keep a keen eye out for any Lakecrest student-led initiatives, as these students have high ambitions to make the most of their learning outcomes and activities.
To read and learn more about the Association for New Canadians please click here or visit their website at ancnl.ca.
Want to see another student lead initiative by our grade six students? Click here to see the NTV news segment about Lakecrest students helping seniors at Lanes Retirement Living.
Want to see more Lakecrest content? Click here to read our previous blog post highlighting our very own French to & Language Arts teacher, Mr. Foran