On Wednesday, May 3, Grade 7 students at English Bluff Elementary held an exhibition entitled Global Citizens Can Make a Difference in Their Local Communities to celebrate the skills they have learned through the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program at the school.
As part of the program, recently the students learned about global citizenship. They investigated the qualities and actions of global citizens and explored why the world needs individuals who are committed to making a positive difference. Earlier this year, they volunteered at the Surrey Foodbank and led beach cleanup activities for their school. For their exhibition, students were asked to research a local community organization to learn more about it. Using their research, students created amazing displays in the school library to help raise awareness of the organizations among other students and their families. They also made jewellery, grew plants and made baked goods to sell at the exhibition, raising more than $1,600 for their organizations.
“A key focus of the IB Program is taking action,” said Kristin Visscher, teacher. “With this project, we wanted to encourage students to take some form of action – informing others, fundraising and even volunteering – so they could experience how much of a difference their actions can make in the community.”
Henrik, Bowen and Eli researched Delta Community Living Society (DCLS). “We chose DCLS because they help people with disabilities to have a good life,” said Henrik, whose mom works at DCLS. “They help people get jobs, learn to drive and take part in arts and crafts. We felt people should know about this organization as it’s important for everyone to be treated as equally as possible.”
Jayden researched Tsawwassen Legion #289 as he has been a cadet there, and recently read in the Delta Optimist that they need to find a new home before the end of August. “It’s good to volunteer and to help organizations that help others,” said Jayden.
Tristan researched Deltassist Family and Community Services Society. “This project was a great opportunity for me to learn more about Deltassist,” he said. “I was surprised to learn just how many different programs and resources they offer people from toys and food hampers to helping seniors and providing counselling.
Adaira researched the Delta Community Animal Shelter. “For many years, I’ve enjoying visiting and donating to the animal shelter on my birthday,” she said. “They help more than 800 animals a year, mostly cats and dogs, but sometimes random animals like ferrets and geckos.” Her group also organized a blanket drive at the school, after noticing the need on the DCAS website.
Other students’ displays highlighted the work of local organizations such as:
- Canuck Place, which provides care for children with life-threatening illnesses.
- Al- Mustafa, which helps orphaned children and provides international aid.
- Ocean Ambassadors, which educates people about the threat on marine pollution on our ocean and the Pick Up 3 initiative.
- OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) Rehabilitation Society which rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured and orphaned raptors.
- BC & Alberta Guide Dogs, which provides Guide Dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired, as well as PTSD and Autism Support Dogs
- Covenant House, which supports young people with food, shelter, clothing, mental health and drug and alcohol counselling.
Laurena Leroy, the school’s IB coordinator, explained that, “The exhibition process allows for student agency as the students independently design and complete a research project about a topic they are interested in. This year’s focus on local organizations has been a great way for students to be a part of making a tangible change as a result of something they are passionate or curious about.”
Visscher believes, “The greatest thing we can do for our youth is teach them how to think beyond themselves and care for others. Through this experience, our students made a personal connection to their organization- and to helping others- that will forever be imprinted on their hearts.”