There is a new character building program at Upper Canada College, part of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools.
Because developing mutual respect is the core of the program, Who Is NOBODY? is also a preventative bullying strategy, supporting Safe Schools Initiatives.
Read below to see how NOBODY is getting got at Upper Canada College.
Playing the piano for seniors at a retirement home, selling a student-created comic book about Shakespeare to raise funds for the ‘Friends of Shakespeare’s Church’ and developing a webpage to match medical students with university research volunteer positions are just three of nineteen different community out-reach projects carried out by one class at Upper Canada College, over one school year while using a program called Who Is NOBODY?™ – supported by Rotary International.
Who Is NOBODY?™ begins when a mysterious box arrives in the classroom addressed:
Inside is NOBODY (a blue denim, gingerbread-shaped doll) and all the necessary resource materials to get this self-running, poster-based program started. Students are told that:
EVERYBODY in the class can help NOBODY become SOMEBODY
They use a simple method, based on five easy steps, to find their personal interests and abilities and then apply the curriculum (from six different subjects, including literacy) to real-life activities that exercise responsible citizenship, build character, help focus career goals and support earned and lasting self-esteem.
‘Respect Yourself and Respect ALL Others’ is the Who Is NOBODY?™ Mission.
Because developing mutual respect (built on personal interests and abilities and how you use them) is the core of the program, Who Is NOBODY?™ is also a preventative bullying strategy, supporting Safe Schools Initiatives.
I believe the Who Is NOBODY? project has opened the boys' eyes to the variety of ways that they can take their personal interests and use them to help others— Jill Stewart, teacher
When students do not respect themselves or others they have low self esteem and are affected by peer pressure and bullying. When students have mutual respect, they are open to learning and sharing with each other. This increases everybody’s potential.
A 3-D collage (NOBODY) and a colourful scrapbook with stories, pictures and photos document each student’s efforts and captures this year-long project helping students in Grade 1 to Grade 12, take action locally, nationally and globally – exercising equality and celebrating diversity.
“I believe the Who Is NOBODY?™ project has opened the boys’ eyes to the variety of ways that they can take their personal interests and use them to help others,” said Jill Stewart, UCC Prep’s Coordinator of Health and Life Skills.
For example, Savinay Chopra saw the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ over the holidays and realized that some people don’t have even the most basic things, like clean water, enough food, and a warm place to sleep. Paired with hearing on a radio show that people donate money to help make wishes come true for children, he decided that his Who Is NOBODY?™ Project would concentrate on helping children whose basic needs aren’t met.
While narrowing his focus, Savinay came across an organization called Pratham that strives to educate homeless children in India. The information had a lot of pictures of children going to school without shoes. Savinay decided to walk in order to fundraise. Then he got in touch with Mr. Thakar of Pratham’s Toronto Chapter who is helping him get the $150 he raised to Delhi where shoes will be bought.
The class is always very focused and interested during our NOBODY presentations and have pertinent and inquisitive questions for the presenter— Ms. Andrea Dinsmore, teacher
“The class is always very focused and interested during our NOBODY presentations and have pertinent and inquisitive questions for the presenter. The class teacher, Ms. Andrea Dinsmore, has commented on how impressed she has been with the creative ideas the boys have come up with in terms of helping others,” said Jill Stewart, who is overseeing the program in one UCC class this year to pilot its effectiveness.
Jared Freedman is sending a letter to Prime Minister Harper, asking him to arrange for government funding to buy used hockey equipment, hire coaches and rent ice time, as he feels all kids should be able to play the game for fun and exercise. He is also requesting that a free league be set up so that kids who receive equipment can play without their parents having to pay. All the boys in his class signed his petition to support this cause.
Students realize that EVERYBODY is SOMEBODY!
For more information about running this program in your school or sponsoring a program, contact Kelly Clark by phone at 416-597 -2011 or firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.whoisnobody.com/
Look for the Who Is NOBODY?™ Exhibit at the CAIS Best Practices Conference on April 20, 2007.
This article was published in the Canadian Association of Independent Schools Newsletter in March 2007