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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Me to We

Me to We Club
This is a group that is affiliated with the Free the Children organization.  This club has been in action for seven years at STA, lead by teacher leaders,  Mrs. Crighton, Ms. Pascot, and
Ms. Selbie, and consists of about 20 hard-working intermediate students, who all have a desire to see and be part of good change in the world.  This club is rooted in philosophy of “children helping children through education”, and through many awareness campaigns, fundraisers, and outreach programs (both local and global) the St. Thomas Aquinas community, has embraced the notion of social justice.
 
September:  Participation in “We Day”
Thirteen students were selected to make their way down to the Air Canada Centre to be part of the National phenomenon that is “WE DAY”.  This is a youth empowerment event where young people from across North America join together to celebrate the positive actions they are making and taking to bring change. WE day also builds momentum for the movement of those young people making a difference in their communities and around the world.   Students at STA collected used batteries to bring to this event, which were harvested for elements they contain, such as, zinc, which can be extracted and used again to supplement the diet of zinc-deficient communities and maintain optimum health.
 
October:  Halloween for Hunger
During the month of October, the Me to We club members raised awareness of local and global poverty, and the rampant issue of hunger in Toronto.  The school community was able to collect hundreds of cans of non-perishable food items that were donated to a local food bank.
 
November:  Vow of Silence
Teachers helped support this cause in their classrooms, raising awareness to the issue of the International Rights of the Child.  Unfortunately, for many children in the world, these basic rights are not afforded to them.  Therefore, for one full day, all classes at STA participated in this vow, where for a given amount of time, they were asked to be completely silent, and had their voices stifled in support of all the children who must endure this daily. 
 
November:  Hosted the TCDSB “Me to We Educators” workshop (West)
November was a busy month, as the Me to We club spear-headed an awareness movement and shift toward living “Me to We”.  They held an assembly, and educated the school community on the Four Pillars of the “Adopt a Village” program, which supports impoverished communities in gaining access to adequate health care, clean water, basic education and sustainable income opportunities.  The grade 4-8 students watched the documentary, “It takes a Child”, which outlines Craig Keilburger’s story and journey, and how one child can make a difference.  Finally, St. Thomas Aquinas hosted a day-long event for TCDSB Me to We Educators (West) to come together, share ideas, and learn from one another.  This event was visited by our TCDSB Director of Education, Mr. Rodrigues, Minister, Area 3 Superintendent, Mr Douglas Yack, with a special visit from Mr. Marc Keilburger himself.  Marc spoke to both sets of educators, morning and afternoon sessions, while also reserving time to get to know and speak to our Me to We student group.

December:  Christmas Fund Raiser - Holy Rosary Sponsorship Program
This year, St. Thomas Aquinas was able to sponsor three orphans living in Embulbul, Kenya who, thanks to the generous contribution of the STA community, through the candy cane sales, will be going to school and enjoying a hot meal every day for an entire year. Every year of education makes a world of a difference to these girls and to their community. On behalf of the girls, we thank you for your kindness and generosity!
 
rafiki chain.jpgJanuary:
  Rafiki Chains
As many Canadians are aware, the current drought in East Africa is the worst they’ve seen in 60 years. In support, the Free the Children organization began a fundraising effort this past Fall, and St. Thomas Aquinas School has taken part in this initiative.  We began selling “Rafiki” (Swahili for “friend”) chains; with all proceeds going to support and improve the quality of life of many children in Eastern Africa.  The colours of these beautiful hand-crafted chains symbolize the abundance of earth-water and life. Kenyan women are paid a fair wage, ensuring they are able to buy necessities. We have sold about 40 chains ($400.00), thus far, and will continue to sell them throughout the year.  At a cost of $10.00, you will feed one African child for one month.

 

 
February:  Phillipino Relief Fundraiser
 With the combined efforts of the Me to We team and lead teachers, many of our staff members, Ms. Tufts and her Grade 4 students, the St. Thomas Aquinas school community really pulled together to help raise $660 dollars towards the Typhoon Ondoy Victims effort. Some of the fundraising events included, a staff luncheon, residual donations from the Book Fair and Candy Cane sales, as well as, a penny drive by Ms. Tufts' grade four/five students and a matching contribution by Ms. Tufts!
 
March:  Free the Children Keynote Speakers and Student Leadership Workshop
Two motivational Speakers from Free the Children came to St. Thomas Aquinas to share their personal journey in a Keynote presentation that was seen by students in grades 6-8.  This presentation was followed up by a Student Leadership Workshops, attended by 24 selected grade 6 students.  Through this workshop, the students discussed social justice issues (local and global), and brainstormed ways to take action.  We will be putting these ideas into action in April 2012, during our “5 Days for Freedom” awareness campaign. 
 
April:  5 Days for Freedom Awareness Campaign      ***Our school decided to continue working on emphasizing the four pillars by using each day to focus on one pillar.
Monday – Water
Tuesday – Alternative Income
Wednesday – Education
Thursday – Health Care                                                                              
Friday – Celebration -Dance
·         “What does Freedom Mean to You?” poster contest from JK-8
·         1st prize- Freedom T-Shirt and It Takes a Child book
·         2nd prize- It Takes a Child book
·         3rd prize- Rafiki Friendship Chain/Bracelet
 
As Mother Teresa once said, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love”.  Everyone can do something, and together, we can really make positive changes!