A bit of background information:
My sister is an elementary school teacher on an uncededed First Nation in Canada. An unceded First Nation means, one “that has not relinquished title to its land to the government by treaty or otherwise.” That means it does not receive monies from the government.
Anyways, my sister has decided to submit an idea called “Mack’s Packs” to the Ashoka Changemakers competition. I debating about submitting an idea that I had but decided to help support my sister. She is a hard working single First Nations woman. Most recently, she completed her masters in education from The University of Western Ontario (UWO) and last year gave birth to my first nephew. While attending UWO, Mackenzie was nominated for the Joan Pedersen Memorial Graduate Award, where her nomination reads,
Mackenzie’s thesis centres on classroom-based approaches and processes in Aboriginal education. Her nominator writes, “Mackenzie is looking for ways to enrich student learning and provide more culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy in the classroom and school. Working with Elders in her community, she has created and developed new materials and initiated new approaches to her own teaching based on the Ojibway language and traditions as understood in her locale. By honouring Mackenzie Sayers with the Joan Pedersen Memorial Graduate Award, the Faculty of Education would also be recognizing the importance of classroom-based research and classroom-based research in Aboriginal education.”
Read the full nomination HERE.
She has now come up with an idea that will help Aboriginal students, who are likely to come from single-parent households and/or low-income households. Briefly speaking her idea is comprised of the following,
Mack’s Packs is a program that gives deserving students school supplies at the beginning of the school year (September 2012) with a hope that it will continue throughout the years with the assistance of donations. This idea came to me as I am an educator and understand the importance of having students come prepared to class. Unfortunately, many students do not have the means to equip themselves with the basic necessities to do this. This program will work similar to a scholarship program where students will be invited to submit an essay on the importance of education alongside taking pride in our culture/history and who we are as a people.
I remember last September 2011 I brought home some extra supplies, like binders and paper, after my sister shared with me that her students could use the supplies. My sister also purchased some supplies for her own students at the beginning of the year with her own monies (a single, mother who teaches making a real difference). Thinking about this idea and the confidence that it can give to other young First Nation students really warms my heart.
If you are going to do anything while on the internet (and if you have facebook which makes it easier), you should vote for this (or at least consider any of the entries that interest you).
Again here is the link: Mack’s Packs!