This evening I had the opportunity to attend a discussion series ran by some professors in the faculty of education at the U of R. The series is called “Talkin about School and Society” and tonight’s topic was Poverty as a Learning Challenge. The evening started with three short presentations from a variety of speakers. We heard from two teachers from Sacred Heart School (An inner city Regina school) and a University of Regina professor who’s research work has lead to dealing with poverty in schools. One topic that seemed to be continuity arising was that of transients and the effects this has on students. As teachers it is far to easy to complain about these students and grumble over the new cum files that are thrown in the door with them, but who is really the unfortunate one in this situation? These students can be traveling between schools so often that they may never have the chance to make a friend, feel a sense of community, and learn the basic social skills that people need to fulfill our inner needs. So what can we do as a society to help?
Tonight I learnt about a great group known as Poverty Free Saskatchewan. There mission is to…
“advance the well-being of all Saskatchewan individuals, families and communities by promoting the development and adoption of effective, measurable and timely policies and programs to eliminate poverty in Saskatchewan.
Poverty is not inevitable, there are concrete actions that government, communities and business can take to eliminate the scourge of poverty in our province. The history of our province is full of examples of people working together to bring about change. In Saskatchewan, thousands of people work daily to lessen the burden of poverty; in our streets, at food banks; through church groups, in schools, hospitals and out of neighbourhood and community centres. At the same time, governments provide services such as income assistance, child benefits and affordable housing. Yet poverty still exists – even in a province as rich as ours. We need to continue to work on solutions that include citizens and governments alike in order to create a “Made-in-Saskatchewan” approach to eliminating poverty”
I encourage you to visit their website to learn more about what you can do to help raise awareness. Far to often society is made to believe that the best way that we can help is to cut a cheque for charity. But who is this really helping? Perhaps only the one who signs the cheque as they feel warm and fuzzy for doing a good deed. The best thing we can do is be an advocate for poverty and raise awareness for the issue. There are many great programs in Regina, Saskatchewan, and Canada but how well known are they? What might you be able to do for them? My class is going to visit Carmichael Outreach in two weeks to learn more about what we can do to help and what our future students might be able to do. I will certainly be sharing the story of the visit with you in the future. In the meantime take a few minutes to check out these websites and think about what you might be able to do to raise awareness in your community.