“The new normal” is a phrase that has been used a lot this year. For most of us, this new normal has brought a range of challenges but has also created a space to reassess and reflect on things that are important: family, friends, and a better work-life balance.
For a growing number of families within our community, however, the challenges of the new normal have also presented new and very real pressures. The rising tide of unemployment, homelessness and lack of food are a part of this new world.
At Green Bay High School (GBHS), the Year 10 Social Action class, headed by social sciences teacher Bruce Munro, had to choose an assignment which required personal involvement in a human rights social justice action. Their decision was to focus on a cause close to home.
After visiting Visionwest Pātaka Kai (food support service) and learning from Visionwest’s Linda Potauaine how the pandemic has forced Visionwest to reassess and change how they operate as a community trust during and post-lockdowns, students learned that demand for the services provided by Visionwest has skyrocketed; in particular demand at their Pātaka Kai. The students decided they wanted to help by running a can drive at school with proceeds going to Visionwest.
Weeks of preparation, running presentations and requesting donations, culminated in the students collecting nearly 700 cans of food. But the students didn’t want to stop there. They expanded their reach to Year Three students at Green Bay Primary. The GBHS students designed and delivered a varied range of lessons, from scenario-based discussions and story times, to board games with the theme of being kind and helping others.
From this, Lorraine Sauvarin and the other Year Three teachers and students at Green Bay Primary supported the can drive by running their own. Over 1,000 cans were donated in support of Visionwest’s Pātaka Kai.
As 2020 draws to a close and we head towards the festive period, maybe “the new normal” can become synonymous with being a stronger, more conscientious and kinder community. After all, social change begins at home.
(This article was written by Bruce Munro and Fiona Drummond from Green Bay High School and originally appeared in The Fringe – story and photo used with permission. A big THANK YOU from Visionwest to Bruce, Fiona and the students of Green Bay High and Green Bay Primary Schools).
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