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Thistletown CI students rally school, community in support of women's shelter

Thistletown CI students rally school, community in support of women's shelter

Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Categories: School Web Stories

original submission by Shivani Bhatt, grade 12 student, Thistletown CI

With motivation and determination to affect social change, grade 12 Challenge and Change students at Thistletown Collegiate Institute (TCI) and their teacher, Ms. Bhavini Patel, participated in a recent project in support of Ernestine's Women's Shelter. The experience showed each and every student in the class that positive change is possible with team work, passion, and the resolve to get it done. 

The mission for our class was to bring the school and community together to help women who face domestic violence by hosting a TCI Toy and Food Drive. The class was able to collect a significant amount of non-perishable foods, toys, clothing and more than $3000 from the school and community. We did that. Together.

A number of events were organized to support the project, including a White Ribbon campaign, a bake sale, a Samosa Sale, a week-long car wash and, last but not least, the wildly popular "Walk A Mile in Heels" where, with help from principal Mr. Palermo, Ms. Jackson, and Mr. Celeste, students watched their favourite male teachers "strut their stuff" in women’s pumps. Not only did these events raise much-needed money, items and awareness but they helped foster school spirit. We did that. Together.

The community joined in as well. Local businesses jumped on board to take part in the project. Wal-Mart Rexdale became one of our biggest sponsors as they donated a gift card along with permission to open up a booth for donations at their location, in which they would match the money we made and make a donation to Ernestine's. Support also came from Tim Horton’s, Costco, Sears, Mastermind Toys, Food Basics and many more. We did that. Together. 

Many teens feel like they cannot affect meaningful change in their communities. The misconception is that no matter how much teens may wish for things to change, they will stay the same because our opinions are irrelevant.  

Ms. Patel helped her students see that change can and does happen. "I wanted to give my students an opportunity to do something outside of the norm,” she said.  “As opposed to only reading and thinking about social change, they needed a platform to actually be the change and make that change happen. And that is exactly what all 30 students were able to do: not only bring awareness of domestic violence to the staff and students of Thistletown CI but the community of Rexdale. This is what social change is about; it begins right in our own backyard – start with a vision, work together as a team to execute that vision." 

From the moment that Ernestine's volunteer administrator, Khadija Kathy Ali, came in to speak to students about the shelter, we saw the chance to finally do something and we took it.  Mother Teresa said that "being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." With this project, our class worked toward feeding these women and children love, care and support. This project has taught me so much. We were able to experience what it feels like to initiate change and make a real difference in people’s lives. 

We did that. Together.

 


 

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