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Lord Selkirk School recently hosted a Sustainability Exposition that focused on the needs of the surrounding Chalmers Neighbourhood.
The March 22 event was held in partnership with Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, Winnipeg Harvest and Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Program.
The Roots and Shoots program uses a four-step model where young people map their communities to identify local needs, prioritize their findings and implement a service campaign of their choice to make a difference for the issues they are most passionate about.
"Students take action to make change in the areas they've identified," said Colleen Dawson, a Grade 6 teacher and ESD mentor at the school. "Our students wanted hold an event that would create awareness and build partnerships to move forward on these issues."
The first targeted the difficulty in accessing healthy food in the community.
"Our classroom has been working on food security, and how Elmwood should have access to healthy food at fair prices," said one student. "Every family should have fresh, healthy food."
Most families cannot afford to eat healthy every day because of extreme prices at local convenience stores and far distances to big box retailers. This puts a physical and economic strain on local residents. The students hope to bring an affordable grocery store to the community.
Other classes chose to learn more about the Winnipeg Humane Society.
"We noticed a lot of stray cats in our community," a student said. "We wanted to help them."
Students thought about creating cold-weather shelters and distributing them in the community: "It would give cats a place where they could get warm."
During the campaign, students also created mosaic tile bowls through Winnipeg Harvest's Empty Bowls Project. The bowls are to remain empty to will serve as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world and in the Chalmers neighbourhood.
The bowls were created under the guidance of artist Ursula Neufeld, who is also working on a school wide mosaic project. The artist's work at the school has been sponsored through an ArtsSmarts grant.
"Their themes were all-encompassing when it came to sustainability and global awareness—and of course, food and the availability is a big part of that," Ms. Neufeld said. "The final bowls each depict the individual students' personalities. I'm sure the parents can recognize their work without even seeing a name on it. "
The event was well attended, drawing a large crowd of families and community members.
"People are proud of this community and they want to help out," a student said.
With files from Lord Selkirk