Brian Beal Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School Board

Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board 46 Alliance Boulevard Barrie, Ontario, Canada L4M 5K3

Tel 705.722.3555 Fax 705.722.6534 www.smcdsb.on.ca

October 2018

To whom it may concern:

I am pleased to offer my highest recommendation concerning the incredible partnership that exists between the schools of the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board and WE.

Our school board has had the opportunity to work extensively with WE and Me to We since 2009. Teams from each of our nine secondary schools have had the opportunity to be involved with a multi-credit experiential learning program that includes living for two weeks in communities around the world. I am particularly proud of the work that is done prior to departure -- when students spend up to a year in preparation -- accessing professional WE School curriculum resources and expertise to ensure that they are fully prepared for the experience. These resources are invaluable in that they are rich in content, accessible, and free of charge. Our principals appreciate that these resources are provided free, especially when school budgets are so tight. Our board staff carefully reviews these resources to ensure that they are bias-free, culturally and age appropriate, to ensure that they are bias-free, and free of commercial content. It is important to note that any commercial logos of partners are generally found on the teacher resources, and are not seen by the students. These resources prepare our teams to interact in a purposeful, meaningful, and respectful manner. The school teams understand that they are going to be guests in another country, and are amazed at the incredible impact of the work being done. These students then return to our own communities determined to make a difference for a lifetime. Several of our school teams have had the great fortune to be able to return to the same country and community in subsequent years and have been able to witness firsthand the impact of their previous year’s work -- they have seen classrooms finished and filled with students, they have seen wells pumping water, they have seen classes filled with both male and female students because of the availability of fresh, clean water. I have also been fortunate to be able to witness firsthand the impact of the WE throughout most of our elementary schools. I have witnessed the excitement and passion of our students who are involved with the various WE Schools programs, including participation in WE Day. The students attend the annual event as students dedicated to social justice, and then return to our schools even more committed to caring for all those in need in our communities. The WE Day event serves as a springboard for a year’s work of dedication to many social justice causes. It is so inspiring to see 20,000 students annually filling the Air Canada Centre, each totally dedicated to making our world a better and more just place for everyone, especially those who are lonely, isolated, or impoverished. On behalf of the schools of the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, I would like to commend WE for their incredible work. I thank them for their dedication to social justice, and for their unwavering commitment to “making good doable” both in Canada and throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Brian Beal Director of Education Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board

705 722 3555,ext 223 bbeal@smcdsb.on.ca Twitter: @SMCDSBDirector

OUR MISSION: "Our inclusive Catholic learning community is dedicated to excellence. We give witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ, as we journey in faith and learning, to develop the God-given abilities of each person."

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