(Georgina) – Nobody came to Prince of Peace Catholic Elementary School earlier this month.
Don’t worry though, after a while, Nobody will become a Somebody as part of this unique literacy and character education program for students in grades 1 to 8.
Students become really passionate about their community contributions, building respect in themselves and their peers for their altruistic actions— Kelly Clark, program creator
The program, donated to six classes at Keswick’s Prince of Peace school by the Markham Sunrise Rotary Club, also acts as a preventable bullying aid “because it helps students build mutual respect by highlighting the fact that everybody is somebody who the world needs,” according to Kelly Clark, director of the Who Is Nobody program.
The program uses literacy to help at-risk youth by getting them to watch and experience the Rotary Club motto “service above self”.
The program begins with the arrival of a mysterious box in the classroom addressed to “Everybody” from “Nobody”. When the teacher opens the box, he or she finds a blue denim gingerbread shaped Nobody doll inside. The doll is otherwise completely non-descript.
The teacher gives each student a different week staggered over the school year to take Nobody home, follow simple steps to do a project to help other living things, for example, people, animals or the environment, Ms Clark explained.
Over the school year Nobody starts to become a Somebody with a variety of 3-D attachments representing community outreach projects that students have done, for example, donating their time, materials and funds while creating awareness for causes such as breast cancer, animal rights, global warming.
For example, if a student shoveled the driveway for an elderly neighbour, he or she can add a toy sandbox shovel to the doll to represent the good deed.
“Students become really passionate about their community contributions, building respect in themselves and their peers for their altruistic actions,” Ms Clark said. Who Is Nobody programs are distributed with support from Rotary clubs.
For more see the website www.whoisnobody.com
This article was published in the The Georgina Advocate Newspaper on February 14th 2007