True North Living » Community » How Teachers and Students Brought Community Into Their Virtual Classrooms
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Lauren Pragg

Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations, Youth & Philanthropy Initiative Canada

Saying it’s been a tough year for teachers and students is an understatement. This is a generation-defining time, with young people among the hardest hit by the closures and isolation. Educators continue to exceed expectations in supporting their students to stay engaged and feel connected, while also navigating the challenges of the pandemic.

Through flexibility and creativity, and with the support of community partnerships, teachers have found meaningful ways to support and promote the empowerment of students through connections with each other and the curriculum, and inclusion in their communities’ real-time responses to COVID-19.

The impact of COVID

The charities and non-profits that regularly serve youth and their communities with issues ranging from gender-based violence, LGBTQ2S support, and anti-racism, to housing, food security, and mental health are facing both increasing demand for services and decreasing donations. According to Imagine Canada, 16 percent of charities believe that they’ll have to cease operations within the year if trends continue.

This year alone over 13,000 young people spoke up in solidarity with local charities through the virtual version of Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Canada’s youth-led grant-making program. Thanks to their dedication, research, and advocacy, $500,000 was granted to local charities. “This is one of the most motivating activities my students have ever had the chance to participate in,” says Martin Aller-Stead, a teacher facilitating YPI in Toronto.

Thank you, students and teachers, for bringing community into your virtual classrooms. We’re excited to work alongside you in 2021 and 2022!

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