My name is Maeve and I am a grade 5 student at Shanty Bay Public School. I am part of a program called the Change Agents. In Change Agents, you pick a global or local problem that you are passionate about and then attempt to make a change to solve the problem.
Last year I organized a writing utensil recycling contest at my school. I got the idea from the recycling program at Staples. The class who recycled the most writing utensils got a special visit from Zoo To You and our small school of 140 students recycled over a thousand writing utensils! All of these were then brought to Staples to be recycled.
This year I am spreading my recycling challenge throughout the entire Simcoe County District School Board! I contacted Staples and asked if they would join me as a corporate partner. I also contacted a local industry called Busch Systems: they make recycling bins. We are going to provide bins to every school and coordinate pick up of all the plastic writing utensils for recycling. I’m about to make and send out a video series to all the schools to see who would like to join me in a board wide challenge–there will be prizes for the school that recycles the most! I also want to help people make better choices around their use of plastics and I will include tips for doing that in the videos.
I think you should be a Change Agent because it opens doors to being a leader, helping people, and of course, having fun!
Co-creating a space where people feel that they can speak out in spite of their fears is a vital step in the process of learning how to become a changemaker. Empathy researcher Brene Brown explains that being empathetic requires that we be present and wholly engaged without our ‘protective armour’. People wear armour to try to become invisible or fit in with others to hide what they consider to be defects or embarrassing qualities for fear of being judged, labeled, or bullied. It is difficult to feel empathy for others when you are cut off from yourself.
For this reason, we’re starting the change closest to home. Everyone in the changemaking process needs to feel valued, seen, and heard. Because of the culture we inherited and the way our brains work, all of us carry biases. This isn’t wrong or bad, it’s what we do with them that matters. Being humbled can lead to personal transformation.
The exercises below will help you to:
Once the principles of the safe space have been defined and agreed upon by all, they can be used, reinforced, and referred back to as needed throughout the time you share together.
Design Thinking & the Deskless Classroom(Exercise, Time will vary)
Create a Classroom Contract(30-45 minutes)
Learn how to listen: Are you a good listener? (video 5 min + opportunities for deeper thinking)
Empathy & Equity: From the Stanford D.school, this exercise gives designers to an opportunity to pause and notice their biases(15 min daily over the course of week).
Cross the Line: (30-60 min.) We live in a diverse world. In this exercise we will explore the diversity among us by thinking about our values, our backgrounds, our teachers, and our experiences.
CCDI: Explore Power and Privilege (Toolkit with various exercises)