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Social Justice Initiatives in Edmonton Catholic Schools 2010-2011
Social Justice initiatives undertaken by our students and staff are increasing in number and type every year. Both awareness of what constitutes a social justice issue as well as the many different outlets for participation in becoming advocates of change in the world are evident in the long and varied list that celebrates our District’s social justice successes. Certainly charity collections of money and goods still constitute the bulk of social justice actions in the schools but more and more schools are asking students to research, choose, plan and execute activities that go beyond bringing immediate relief of needs. Below is a brief summary of the types of actions undertaken according to the 5 stages of Social Justice.
Collections: Bring a Relief of Immediate Needs
Some of the recipients of collections that are undertaken by multiple schools include: Terry Fox Run; Food Bank; Marion Center; Christmas Hampers; Care for Creation; Coats for Kids; Jump Rope for Heart; Sign of Hope Campaign; St. Vincent de Paul Society; Youth Emergency Shelter; Stollery Children’s Hospital; various collections of food, clothing and school supplies for our own schools in need.
Direct Service: Directly filling needs in the Community
Common types of direct social justice action include: Snow shoveling and leaf raking in the neighbourhood; clean up of community parks and fields; delivering seasonal cards to people in the communiy; working at the Food Bank, Mustard Seed, Hope mission, Marion Center and Habitats for Humanity; visiting seniors centers and residences.
Service for Empowerment: Empowering People for Lasting Change
The organizations with whom our schools have developed long lasting relationships include: local seniors centers and residences; foster children; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; long-term sharing of resources and time with organizations such as the Youth Emergency Shelter, the Hope Mission, Mustard Seed, Sacred Heart Parish, The Marion Center.
Reflection and Analysis
The increase in charitable collections and service time demonstrates that students and staff are reflecting on what is needed and what they can do. Many schools have implemented programs that require research into charitable and social justice organizations as well as, for the older children, research toward understanding conditions, both historical and current, that either initiate or perpetuate deprivation or destruction. The IB programs require this kind of immersion into issues for their various programmes and many of our other schools have undertaken similar in depth studies into social justice issues.