Contributed by the Canadian Hunger Foundation

Ms. Lafond balances the curriculum of her World Issues class with hands-on activities that empower her grade 12 students to make a difference in the world. “It’s a better formula than just learning about sad or corrupt situations and feeling helpless,” she says.

While learning about the challenges facing families in developing countries and other global issues, Ms. Lafond’s students at Osgoode Township High School are also taking action, with the help of Canadian Hunger Foundation’s guest speakers and online resources. While exposing her students to the topic of international aid and the importance of giving assets to communities in need, her class raised close to $1,000 for local and overseas communities.

As for Canadian Hunger Foundation, Ms. Lafond’s class organized a week-long bake and smoothie sale at their school — which proved a welcome change from cafeteria food. “Teenagers love baked goods and smoothies, let me tell you!” says Ms. Lafond.

After their week-long bake drive, her students enjoyed looking through Canadian Hunger Foundation’s Gifts That Matter catalogue and deciding what to buy with the $482 they raised. As they learned the importance of clean water, farming training and resiliency, the students opted to buy Gifts That Matter items like Mango Fruit Trees, Chickens, Farming Tool Kits, Safe Water Supplies as well as a Holiday Hamper — which is a little bit of all of the above.

This is just the latest in a long string of contributions from the students at Osgoode Township. The school donated to Canadian Hunger Foundation for the first time in 1986 and has now donated well over $10,000 to help some of the world’s poorest to build better lives for themselves and their families.

During every World Issues course that she teaches, Ms. Lafond lets the students research and decide who to raise money for and how to do it. Her students have sold buttons at the Metcalfe Fair to buy medical supplies for Doctors Without Borders, had week-long bake sales to buy rabbit farms and farming tools for families through World Vision, worked with and raised money for Amnesty International, the Canadian Hunger Foundation, Right to Play, WWF, Shepherds of Good Hope, Ryan’s Well, and a women’s shelter in Ottawa, among others.

“Kids learn more when they’re doing. The act of doing the research, choosing a worthy organization, putting forth effort to raise money, then actually being able to choose what we purchase (instead of just handing over a cheque) tends to stick with them more. Writing letters to governments about human rights concerns and actually hearing back from them is also rewarding for students. Being able to interact with the world and maybe even help a little makes them feel good and important and hopefully they will continue doing it in the future.”
– Ms. Lafond, September 2017

Reflection questions

The reality of this situation is that many communities around the world are in need of financial resources, just like the one connected to Ms. Lafond’s class. However, we ask:

  • How did Ms. Lafond go beyond just providing financial resources for a community?
  • How did the students at Osgoode Township School benefit from this project? What might they have learned?
  • What are other ways that this project could have been done to benefit both the givers and receivers of financial assistance?
  • How does this approach and execution of a project align with the principles of good practices outlined here?
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