A rainy and blustery Hallowe'en night didn't prevent the Barrie Central Social Justice Club members from venturing out for a good cause: the We Scare Hunger campaign, started by the charity Free the Children. The Central students, some dressed in costumes, went door-to-door collecting non-perishable food items for the Barrie Food Bank. Other students and staff members also pitched in, bringing canned food to the library where it was being collected. In a close-fought battle, the grade 12s edged out the grade 10s to claim the winning title in the grade-level competition to see which grade could bring in the most food. The Barrie Food Bank reported that Central collected more than 700 pounds of food for families in need!
This past Tuesday the Barrie LGBTQ* Youth Connection group met at the Barrie By The Bay building for their bi-weekly meeting to discuss a spectrum of issues, as well as how each member was doing and how they are handling the situations they are facing.
This group provides LGBTQ or allied youth with a safe environment in which they can speak their minds without judgement. The group was started by Sharron Carson, Outreach Worker at the CMHA, and a few other volunteers about 4 years ago. Now facilitated by the Youth Program Coordinator at the ACSC, Dale Boyle, the group has gone from 4 to 5 youth to 15 to 20 in attendance - and it’s growing.
Dale Boyle had this to say about why believes it is so special and useful compared to other programmes: “The LGBT Youth Connection is so unique because it's different than other youth groups in Simcoe. While other groups might be inclusive of LGBT youth, the LGBT Youth Connection is designed specifically with these youth at the core. This is incredibly crucial to the LGBT youth of Simcoe County, as it provides a safe and comforting environment for youth to meet one another, learn, support each other, and have some fun too!”
Volunteer facilitator and very involved Central student, Brandon Amyot, had this to say when asked why he attends this group: "I joined the youth group mainly because it was an outlet for me - a place to express and be safe - but also to make connections." This group helps youth who are feeling alone and brings them together with other youth who are feeling the same way, while sharing struggles through conversations and activities.
This group is ever-growing and would love to see more LGBTQ*/Allied youth in attendance. The Barrie group meets every first and third Tuesday of the month from 4:00 until 7:00 at the Barrie by the Bay Building, just minutes from Central.
With headlines of equality issues appearing on the world stage, it is often forgotten that we experience our own problems right here in Simcoe County. Simcoe Pride aims to raise awareness of these problems and help to solve them.
Founded in early spring of 2012, Simcoe Pride is a county-wide organization that is on a mission "to create inclusive events, activities and opportunities that rise above hetero-sexism, hetero-normativity and homo/bi/transphobia providing a safe community for LGBT people within Simcoe County," and they are doing this through community outreach, educational opportunities, and fun events. Apart from their annual pride week, that starts on the Friday before Kempenfest, the Board of Directors and other volunteers work year-round working towards their vision of a safe, inclusive, and supportive Simcoe County.
In addition to their local political incentive, the Board is also seeking to involve more youth and families. To achieve this, they look to influential students to help spread the word in local schools, giving hope to those who may feel scared and alone. Simcoe Pride is calling out to students or other people hoping to volunteer in their communities, especially with the Annual General Meeting coming up the first Sunday of June. As well, planning is taking place for involvement in World Pride 2014 - Toronto and Simcoe Pride's annual pride week - Friday, August 1 to Saturday, August 9.
For more information on events and opportunities, or to get involved: go to www.simcoepride.com, follow them on twitter @SimcoePride, or like them on facebook.
The Ontario Student, Parent and Education Survey is now available at www.studentsurvey.ca. The survey is administered annually by the Ontario Student Trustees' Association - l'Association des élèves conseillers et conseillères de l'Ontario (OSTA-AECO).
OSTA-AECO partners with Student Vote, People for Education, ScholarshipsCanada.com, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Principals' Council, the Ontario Public School Boards' Association and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association to ask students, parents, and educators ten questions about education.
All participants who fully complete the survey will be entered into a randomized draw to win their choice of $200 or an Apple iPad.
For the results from previous surveys, click here.
Abdulgadir Ahmed, OSTA-AECO Survey Lead
It was a dark and stormy night on Halloween this year, but that didn’t stop Central’s Social Justice Club from doing something awesome for our community. Members of the SJC canvassed door-to-door, as part of Free the Children’s campaign, We Scare Hunger. Despite the wicked weather, the students stayed out long enough to collect 20 boxes of food items--that's 685 pounds of food! Central students also raised $50 at Library Unplugged to donate to the Barrie Food Bank. Mr. O’Brien and Ms. Lapenskie would like to thank everyone who contributed, especially the Social Justice Club members who worked very hard. We’re proud of you for making a difference in the lives of many Barrie families!
On Monday, November 3, Barrie Central provided refuge for hundreds of students and their teachers from Portageview ES. The Portage View students were unable to remain at their school for the day due to a power outage, so they camped out in Central’s auditorium. One highlight of the day was a performance by Central’s drumline. Here’s a link to the story on A-Channel News.
Some sad news for our extended Central family: Ari Wels, a teacher from Elde College in the Netherland, who brought a group of students to Central for a visit in 2011, died in an accident on October 30th. Ari and his students created the Remembrance Day videos that were a highlight of several of our recent Remembrance Day services here at Central. We would like to extend our condolences to Ari’s family, as well as the staff and students at Elde College.