Extracurricularly, I have organized clubs, trips to museums and galleries, held events, assemblies, created art installations and exhibitions throughout the school and community. The arts are often used to promote student engagement and activism. Visual art is used to foster an understanding that transcends (and includes) a local perspective. Empowering students to become engaged citizens, finding their voice, seeing themselves as agents of change, realizing their capacity and authority to contribute to a more peaceful, just and sustainable world helps to equip learners with the skills necessary to live productively and with hope.
After five years of fundraising, letter writing, and guest speakers including Steven Lewis, we organized a trip to one of the poorest countries in the world - Sierra Leone, West Africa. This experience was transformative for all of us.
Trip to Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa for 10 students & 3 teachers
In 2005, Sierra Leone was a country is slowly rising from the ashes of war. The Sierra Leone civil war (1991-2002) was one of the most grotesque wars in post-independence Africa.
Together with 10 students and 2 other teachers, I spent 17 days learning about the impact of the war, democracy building, gender equity, health issues (such a HIV/AIDS) and peace and reconciliation. In collaboration with youth leaders from the Nova Scotia - Sierra Leone Project we toured schools and NGO's including the Truth and Reconciliation War Crimes Court. We stayed in a small community just outside of Freetown, the capital city, and in the end tried to make some sense of it all, as if that were possible and share this experience with our community at home.