Friday, November 2, 2018

Dear WE Schools Team,

WE is such a powerful and integral component of my daily teaching, as well as my daily life. Being a WE educator, I have truly been inspired to live WE to the fullest. I have been able to accomplish this, not only because of the incredible students I have had the pleasure to work with, but because of the outstanding WE team that I have as cheerleaders, guidance counsellors and resource technicians. WE has become a second family; I not only engage with WE programming and campaigns in my school and classroom but also with my family through WE trips. I have been an educator with York Catholic District School Board since 2015, working with many different grades. I have also facilitated our Luke 4:18 (social justice) committee at many schools I have worked. I have used the WE Schools lesson plans within my classrooms to not only facilitate learning opportunities but to delve deeper into understanding concepts through inquiry based activities. WE’s lesson plans are not only available for free but are linked to the curriculum with learning goals, assessment and evaluation options and blackline masters. These resources have given me the opportunity to delve deeper into many areas of study that I was not as comfortable with because they are detailed plans with many resources. WE is also incorporated into my extra curricular activities within our Luke 4:18 committee. All the campaign materials are always provided and if extra resources are needed the program team sends out the resources immediately. They also provide support by touching base every month, creating team building and action planning sessions for students and educators, as well as having a jam packed WE schools kit. All of their campaigns touch back to lesson plans and there are incredible packages, with specialized lesson plans for each campaign. Being a WE school educator is something that can be done through campaigns, lessons, trips or all together. WE makes their resources accessible to all learners and educators at whatever stage they are ready to engage in. I, myself live WE in all aspects and have truly been able to experience this to the fullest by travelling with WE to Ecuador, the Amazon and most recently to Kenya. Being able to first-hand explain the significance of the campaigns to students and their families is one of the most rewarding parts of going on a WE trip, not only do you have the opportunity to engage in life-changing leadership opportunities and spend time with incredible families in the WE villages, but the WE team are beyond the most knowledgeable, professional and supportive group you could ask for. These experiences have given my family the chance to witness all of our fundraising in action, as well as provide documentation for students and their families of all their hard work within the schools in Canada. The connections between lesson plans, campaigns and trips is a well-oiled machine. I brought home many more learning connections for the students and we have been able to extend learning way beyond the classroom; into their homes, their communities, and around the world. With WE students, educators, and families are all connected not only locally, but globally. WE means so much more than making good doable. It means providing children, youth, families and educators an opportunity to explore our world with a different lens; a lens that understands diversity, that honours culture, and that respects determination. WE empowers those through a hand-up, not a hand-out and gives a voice to thousands whose voices were once silenced. Without WE, I can honestly say I would not be the educator I am today, nor the person I am. WE truly transforms lives. Thank you to ALL the staff at WE.


Katelyn Forgione OCT, ECE

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