Going to school on income disparity....

Submitted by Tom Cooper on August 10, 2016 - 12:53am

The City of Hamilton's Public Health Department, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction came together to launch a new teacher resource that will challenge high school students to think about the root causes of poverty, income disparity and social exclusion in society and in our community.

An orientation session for teachers was held at a teaching facility in Ancaster, Ontario on Friday, September 13th 2013.   This new resource (perhaps the first of its kind in Canada) will be utilized in Grade 9 and 10 Civics and Religion classes.  The resource was pulled together through the outstanding vision of Hamilton's former associate medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie (now MOH for London, Ontario) and through the leadership of Jo Ann Salci, Public Health Nurse for the Social Determinants of Health with the Hamilton Public Health Services.  

The resource includes sections that enables students to better understand the experiences of those living in poverty and encourages them to think beyond stereotypes.  As some of the students will themselves be living in families on low incomes, the resource seeks to provide additional support for those effected by poverty.

A resource section includes a number of references to Vibrant Communities initiatives and some actions that can be undertaken by students.  This project is an outstanding example of how community partners can come together to address an identified need through collaborative action

Once the pilot phase is complete, the Hamilton Roundtable will make the resource document available for distribution to other communities who may find it useful.