Seycove Secondary’s Social Justice 12 is a course that teaches students they are never too young to make a difference in the world.

After learning about various perspectives relating to different social justice issues such as poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, homophobia, reconciliation, and also studying human rights and analysing the cycle of socialization, students then choose a project they are passionate about to bring about change for a cause.

It is amazing to see these students tackle their projects. Students report that it does not feel like work because they are genuinely inspired by their projects and their cause, and the growth they see in themselves. It is inspiring, particularly during these COVID-19 times, to see students who are motivated and driven to spread positivity in their school, and local and global communities.

Below is a sample of some of the final action plan projects that Seycove’s Social Justice 12 students have produced.​

Personal Protective Equipment for Youth in Need

Through their Social Justice 12 course, Saege and Samantha learned how important it is to help those in need in any way they can. They collected and donated a large supply of personal protection equipment to a youth crisis centre in Vancouver. They have a greater understanding on how important supporting your communities are and that helping each other is one of the best things to do.

“We feel it’s important to spread the word about mental health especially with youth, and that our district should know about this serious issue.” Focusing on personal protective equipment for youth in need was a very appropriate action plan since everyone, in some shape or form, is dealing with the insecurities of the COVID-19 pandemic. “No one should feel scared and unprepared to walk down the street or go to the store during the pandemic, which is why we focused on supporting youth struggling with poverty.”​

Saege and Samantha have since initiated the renewal of Seycove’s Mental Health Club. Through the club they anticipate further education to their community by installing posters around the campus as well as hosting events that are beneficial for your mental health like walking or yoga.

​​​Mental Health in Youth

Lily O’Dea’s action plan focussed on the topic of mental health in youth. As someone who has struggled with mental health, she wanted “to bring light and love” to her peers who are fighting their own battles.

She partnered with her elementary school, Cove Cliff, where she founded a running club for students in grades 5-7. Once a week, Lily meets with the students to run, walk or jog. This also provides a safe and welcoming space for students to share what is happening in their lives. Lily’s teacher Andrea Yeo is so inspired by her project that she has encouraged Lily to share her work with the other Seycove teachers and staff, which is something Lily is excited to do.

Children in Armed Conflict

Sofia chose to focus her action plan on children in armed conflict. She created a GoFundMe page to bring awareness to the social injustice these children face and raise funds for the non-profit, The Innocence Lost Foundation.

The goal of the Innocence Lost Foundation is to provide former child soldiers with recovery through education, skills, training and therapy facilities. All donations will go towards building a community centre in Kabala, Sierra Leone, where there will be classes and workshops, along with a water well and a small medical clinic.

Sofia’s action plan included educating herself on this issue, learning about charitable and community supports for these children, bringing awareness to others within the community, as well as raising money to help support the children.

Through the project, Sofia developed her research skills, and learned a lot about this topic, these children’s’ lives, and the horrible circumstances they are forced into. “I have moved out of my comfort zone and into an area of helping others. I’ve also gained an understanding that there are many injustices in the world, and no amount of help is too small.”

Youth and Drug Addiction

Kaiya and Taylor created a petition requesting the provincial government consider improving the rehabilitation system currently in place for youth struggling with drug addiction. “Addiction is a highly prevalent, yet stigmatized issue; therefore, it does not get the attention required.”

Kaiya and Taylor spoke with MLA Susie Chant during a North Vancouver District council meeting to bring awareness to the issue in the hopes of bringing change within the community. “During the Social Justice 12 course at Seycove, we have become advocates and learned how our small actions can create a major difference.”

These stories have been reproduced with permission from School District 44 (North Vancouver). The original postings, and additional stories, can be found here and here