May 1, 2012
Evolving from “Me to We”
A Community of Christ International Peace Award honoree helped inspire efforts that led to a campaign against hunger.
by TARA OLSON
Chauvin, Alberta, Canada
A winner of the Community of Christ International Peace Award inspired a teacher and member of the Ribstone Congregation, who in turn used her passion to start the Social Justice Club in her school.
I’m that teacher. It all started at a social-studies conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. That’s where I heard the presentation by Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children. Kielburger won the award in 2005. I took my inspiration back to Dr. Folkins School in Chauvin, Alberta.
The club’s first project was Halloween for Hunger. Hunger is a daily reality for millions of people in North America and around the world. The numbers are dire: 28 percent of people helped by food banks are children and youth, and 51 percent of households helped by food banks have children.
I wanted to help our youth change their thinking from “me to we.” The development of responsible citizens who care about others is important. According to a University of Virginia study, “service learning leads to higher grades and more responsible choices.”
We asked Chauvin residents to give non-perishable food items when the members of the Social Justice Club came to their doors on Halloween night. There also was a donation box in the school office. The goal was 500 items to give to food banks in nearby larger towns. Nineteen of the 22 club members participated, dressing in costumes and going door to door.
They collected 786 items while deepening their “me to we” understanding.
Another activity of the club was to ask students and staff members in the kindergartener-to-senior school to give change to the Just Add Water campaign. It’s a fundraiser every October to build clean-water wells around the world. This collection netted $195.
For the Christmas season, the club joined a radio station from a nearby large town and asked students to donate unwrapped gifts for children who may not have received presents.