With a little help from students, “nobody” will become somebody by the end of the school year.
I feel like I just pushed an obstacle away for someone— Victoria Aldis, grade 5 student
Mme. Brigit O’Boroc, a Grade 5 teacher at Lester B. Pearson Public School in Aurora, was the first teacher in York Region to pilot the character-focused Who Is Nobody program last year.
This year, with a new group of Grade 5 students, she has decided to run the program again, explaining it is a wonderful teaching aid for character education.
The kit arrives in a box addressed to everybody from Nobody and inside is a blue duffel bag, manuals for students and teachers, DVD for easy-implementation, posters, a scrapbook, etc.
Nobody, a genderless, featureless denim doll with no personality accompanies the duffle bag, which will be taken home by each student throughout the school year.
If everybody in Aurora, just Aurora, did one good deed, it would make a huge difference in the world— Sean O’Donnell, grade 5 student
“I want somebody to become a good person who helps people when they need it,” Grade 5 student Carla Daniger said. “I want t to be respectful and smart in a bad situation.”
The first step in teaching Nobody how to become a somebody is for each student to pick a living thing in the community to help: a person, animal or the environment.
Next, depending on the student’s talents or skills, he must decide the where, what and when of his plan to teach Nobody one of the many traits in the Character Matters! Program by doing a good deed.
Some students have already had the opportunity to help Nobody and attach a memento to the doll representing what they have accomplished in the community.
For example, Victoria Aldis cut off 12 inches of her hair, donated it to the Angel Hair foundation and attached hair to Nobody.”
The students really get a chance to display the character traits we push, they have really done some wonderful things— Brigit O’Boroc, teacher
“I feel like I just pushed an obstacle away for someone,” Victoria said. “like I just came to someone’s aid.”
Another student sold jewelry she made and donated the money to the World Wildlife Foundation. She attached a necklace to Nobody.
Willamina Van der Vecht donated clothes and toys she outgrew to children in Africa, Sarah Russell is sponsoring a child in Africa and Iza Batko donated blankets to the humane society.
“The students really get a chance to display the character traits we push,” Mme. O’Boroc said. “They have really done some wonderful things.”
By doing this, I feel like I’ve been selfish because I could have been doing this all along— Sean O’Donnell, grade 5 student
Students who have not had a chance to take the doll home plan to do a variety of good deeds, including donating clothes and toys to the Salvation Army, picking up garbage every day for a month, walking dogs at the humane society, donating to food banks, collecting pop can tabs for the Hospital For Sick Children, making biscuits to sell and donating the proceeds to the humane society, giving toys to a local church, running to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society and asking for food donations for the homeless instead of birthday presents.
Along with adding character to develop Nobody’s personality, students also create their own one-page visual of what they have done, which later will be compiled into a scrapbook.
“By doing this, I feel like I’ve been selfish because I could have been doing this all along,” Grade 5 student Sean O’Donnell said.
“If everybody in Aurora, just Aurora, did one good deed, it would make a huge difference in the world.”
The program, created by Kelly Clark, a teacher who has taught in more than 150 schools in Canada and England has been donated to Mme. O’Boroc’s class by the Aurora Rotary Club.
This article was published in the The Era Banner Newspaper on March 17th 2007