While attending a mission weekend at Scott Street Church in St. Catharines, teacher Tim Durksen learned how WOW’s Christmas program helps vulnerable children attend school in Zambia by supplying required uniforms and school supplies. Knowing they were looking for a global justice minded Christmas project, Durksen thought WOW Christmas would be a good fit for his middle school classes at Niagara Christian Collegiate, which encompasses 40 students from grades 6-8.
Originally run for two weeks in December, Durksen, a fellow teacher, and middle school director, Mr. Anthony Haughton (grades 7/8) kept the program simple; holding a few out of uniform days, and sending the WOW Christmas packages home with students to bring back with donations which were matched by the school.
Mr. Durksen explained how the students were moved by the global connection made when they received their WOW video back from the school in Zambia they supported, and were even more affected by the letters each student received from a student in Zambia.
In fact, the student body and staff were so excited, they incorporated WOW into their spring Social Studies curriculum unit—“Global Inequities”!
Durksen explained how the final assignment of the “Global Inequities” unit was a Global Awareness Fair where essentially, students, using research, created their own mock-organizations around a global inequity topic which interested them. The students then, much like a science fair, presented their “organization” and cause at both a booth and verbal presentation to fellow students and staff who cast their vote for the best presentation. The premise being that the winning student mock-organization would receive funds to donate to a similar actual organization and would present their plan to the entire student body at assembly, including the high school.
The winning group was concerned with supporting global educational causes in Somalia, and felt the organization most akin to theirs was WOW’s Christmas program! Further, when presenting the proposal for their organizational plan to the NCC student body, a number of high school groups who were also fundraising for global initiatives were stirred to also throw their support behind WOW, or as Durksen calls it, the presentation on global inequities had a “ripple effect”.
According to Durksen, having WOW Christmas in his classroom facilitates “building connections and helps our students to become global citizens”.
Niagara Christian Collegiate is an independent, non-denominational Christian school located on the Niagara River near Niagara Falls, Ontario which has been educating students since 1932.
A big thank you to NCC! We are so inspired by these “change-makers.”