Social Justice Initiative: Dress Down Day for True North Aid
The Senior School Social Justice club tackles social justice initiatives with at least one issue promoted each month. This involves the club’s more than 40 members spearheading a charitable action, such as a dress-down day or a food drive, along with a research component. The students create displays and posters for the classrooms and hallways as well as presentations for school assemblies. The initiatives are student-driven based on their interests and passions.
Last month, one Grade 10 student in particular,Isaac Khan, sparked the theme for November’s dress down day. Isaac’s Canadian History class with Ms. Moonan was learning about indigenous residential schools and human rights, which prompted him to investigate current issues further on his own. Intrigued by what he discovered about health and dental shortfalls in many northern communities, Isaac brought his ideas and research to an early Social Justice meeting and convinced the group to backTrue North Aid.
Below is what Isaac shared about the True North Aid initiative:
There is a substantial lack of access to dental care for Indigenous Communities. The Canadian Paediatric Society conducted a study in 2018 highlighting the poor oral health of Indigenous Canadian children. Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a prominent infectious disease, which includes tooth decay in children 6-years-old and under. Studies show that in some Indigenous communities more than 90% of children have ECC.
ECC is one of the side effects of the challenges facing Indigenous peoples in Canada. Specifically, roughly 40% are living in poverty, and food costs in northern communities are exorbitant, costing often twice as much, or more than food in southern Canada. During this global pandemic, over a third of indigenous Canadians are struggling to pay for basic household needs including food. Imagine paying $26 for a jug of orange juice. Due to these high prices, some Indigenous peoples have to spend 50% of their income on food. As you can imagine, this leaves little to spend on dental hygiene products.
Dentists have found that disease prevention is likely the most cost effective and the best long-term solution to oral health problems in these communities. Therefore, the goal of this fundraiser was to gather dental supplies for indigenous children, specifically toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. These supplies will be shipped through True North Aid, which is an organization dedicated to serving northern Indigenous communities.
There was a wonderful response to the November dress down. The total amount raised will be finalized shortly and the funds will be used to purchase dental products. In January, the Social Justice club will package the goods and ship them to True North Aid for distribution in northern communities.
Thank you to all members of the community who support our Dress Down Days. Today, the Senior School Social Justice club raised nearly $400 for King Township Food Bank’s Toonies for Turkeys drive to deliver frozen turkeys to members of the King community who request them during the holiday season.