Craig Kielburger, founder of international charity Free the Children, has been instrumental in the fight to eliminate child exploitation around the world. What we often forget is that, not so long ago, he was a 12-year-old student trying to make a difference.
Free the Children started as a class research project undertaken by Craig and several students in his class, with the support of his teacher. This September, 17 years after he began his work, high school students in Milton honoured Craig by naming their new school after him. This is partly what brought Craig to mind for Principal Hardy’s address at our assembly on October 17; however, he had another important point to make.
“The reality is that there are relatively few Craig Kielburgers in the world, but we can all do what we can to help others,” Principal Hardy said. “This is one of our core values at Greenwood: using the gifts and privileges we have been given to make a difference in our community.”
A Greenwood example is Reels to Relax, a program created by graduate Simone Roth (’11). During her time at Greenwood, Simone spent time at the Hospital for Sick Children. After learning first-hand about what it’s like to be hospitalized, she wanted to help brighten the days of children at SickKids by collecting and donating movies. Reels to Relax has since donated over 2,000 movies to the hospital. Since Simone’s graduation, senior student Jesse Perez has taken up the cause at Greenwood. October 17 was also the first day of our Wednesday service learning program for 2012-2013; it was wonderful to see so many students bright and eager to help others.
Simone and Jesse’s work is a strong example of empathy, which is a major component of what we call civic character at Greenwood. “The ability to empathize is at the heart of helping others,” Principal Hardy said.