Community engagement is one of the things that Greenwood does best. Our connections to people, organizations, causes and ideas that exist both in and out of the school community are often where some of the best work takes place. This year, we renewed our relationship with the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.
The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is a national project that allows students to complete a multi-award-winning educational experience that builds their skills, character, empathy, and confidence as it relates to a social issue. Our entire Grade 9 class participated in an educational campaign that examined students’ understanding of complex social issues and paired them with a community-based organization that deals hands-on with those most vulnerable.
Grade 9 students began their project in January of 2020. They worked in their GLE/GLS classes to research and better understand issues our community faces and were then tasked with contacting an organization working within the community to support those faced with issues including mental health, violence against women, eating disorders and people struggling with access to services. By March Break, students had made connections and set up interviews or site visits. They were preparing to deepen their relationship with these organizations when the COVID-19 pandemic made everything much more difficult.
When Greenwood reopened online, our Grade 9s committed to finishing their projects in the spirit that they were started. Students shifted gears and made arrangements to connect with their partner organizations virtually. They changed tactics and made the transition to online presentations. Not one beat was missed. The Grade 9s and their Advisers finished with the same tenacity, passion and dedication that is so indicative of a Greenwood community member.
In May of 2020, eight finalists were put forward for the YPI finals. Students represented the following community organizations:
Presentations were judged by our incoming and outgoing Heads of Student Leadership as well as members of Administration and the Lead YPI Teacher. Though the decision was very hard, the top spot went to Community Living Toronto; this group made an impactful presentation on behalf of a great organization. Rounding out the top 3 were Sistering and The Maddie Project.