Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center's unique, innovative education programs provide meaningful, authentic learning opportunities that confront hatred and intolerance for elementary and high school students and build on lessons their teachers deliver every day in their own classrooms. Based on the Equity & Inclusivity Strategy, FSWC’s workshops address Ontario Ministry of Education expectations while generating meaningful discussions that challenge perspectives and offer further understanding of, often, difficult subject matter. The goal of the programming is to teach about historical events while making real-world, contemporary connections and empowering youth to create positive change in their homes, schools and communities.
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Anthony McLean: With a background in theater, Anthony McLean delivers lively presentations on mental health, diversity, bullying, and parenting. He has delivered hundreds of inspiring talks across Canada, the U.S. and Australia, and, as a respected voice in his field, appeared on CBC News, Global Toronto’s Morning Show, and Breakfast Television. Delivering research-backed tools and actionable strategies, McLean always leaves his audiences inspired to bring their best every day.
Jeremy Dias: Jeremy Dias did not intend to make national headlines for winning the second largest human rights settlement from Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal; he simply was looking to be treated equally. At his high school in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Jeremy faced extreme racial and homophobic discrimination from both students and school officials, and at age 17, he pursued legal action in order to defend himself and his peers from this treatment. At age 21, he won his case and used the money for found the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, the International Day of Pink, and the Jeremy Dias Scholarship. Jeremy continues to be an advocate for equality across school campuses, and has worked with community leaders, federal minister, police officers, and the media to create a safer world for all Canadians young and old.
Max Eisen: Max Eisen was 15 year old when he arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp from Hungary with his family in 1944. Within months, he was the only surviving member of his family. Max Eisen’s memoir, “By Chance Alone,” tells the devastating true story of his survival during one of Europe’s most destructive periods, as well as chronicling the aftermath of the war and his attempt to rebuild his life, first in Europe and later in Canada. In March 2019, Max’s memoir won the prestigious Canada Reads Award and became a national bestseller.Even in his 91st year, Max continues to travel domestically and abroad to fulfill the promise he made to his father the last time he saw him 76 years ago: to tell the world what happened in Auschwitz, and to make sure they never forget.
Freedom Day, a one-day event at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, was created to commemorate the
life of Simon Wiesenthal and to carry on his legacy of tolerance, justice and human rights. Freedom Day has
expanded into a highly anticipated, multicultural celebration of Canadian values for students from public, Catholic and private school boards
from across the GTA and surrounding areas. Each year, we gather at Yonge-Dundas Square to
actively participate in the festivities, and be inspired to take action in
making Canada a more tolerant and inclusive society.
Objectives and outcomes of Freedom Day include: raising topics of human rights through education; countering messages that promote hate, stereotypes and bias; empowering and inspiring young people to raise their voices and take action in a positive manner; helping students understand that Canadian rights and freedoms go hand in hand with responsibilities for themselves, their community and their country. Freedom Day aims to bridge cultures and faiths through thoughtful dialogue and interaction with peers and professionals.
The innovative, award-winning Tour for Humanity (T4H) project is an integral component of FSWC’s Educational Department. T4H is a 30-seat, wheelchair accessible, mobile human rights education center designed to bring FSWC’s programming directly to students and educators across Ontario and beyond.
Specific programming developed for T4H aligns with current Ministry of Education curriculum expectations as they relate to Grades 6 – 12 Media Literacy, Language and Oral Communication; Grades 9 – 12 Canadian and World History; Grade 10 Civics and Grade 12 World Religions and International Law. The exemplary program has been recognized by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation with an Award of Excellence.
All T4H workshops are led by experienced FSWC facilitators, and teachers are provided access to educational materials in order to assist in preparing their students for T4H visits.
T4H incorporates multimedia to provide students with a rich and interactive learning experience. The T4H mobile classroom is equipped with HD projectors, a large video wall and HD surround sound to further encourage students’ interest and involvement.
Each T4H session is approximately 45 to 60 minutes in length. The mobile classroom can accommodate one class of 30 students at a time, allowing for six classes or 180 students over the span of a typical school day.
· The Canadian Experience In this workshop, students learn about a variety of difficult topics in Canadian history including the Indian Residential Schools System and the systemic internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Following a review of the past, current issues including cyber bullying and modern-day examples of intolerance are examined and discussed. Suitable for Grades 6-10.
· The Global Experience This workshop begins with a screening of a three-part documentary series produced by FSWC entitled The Holocaust, Universal Genocide and Real World Heroes. The Ten Stages of Genocide are then discussed in relation to the Holocaust and other world genocides, including Rwanda, Cambodia and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine and throughout Eastern Europe under Joseph Stalin’s reign. Student discussion is encouraged. Suitable for Grades 9-12.
· Simon’s Story – Heroes Among Us Aimed at junior audiences, the goal of this workshop is to introduce elementary school students to the Holocaust in an age-appropriate manner. Students will learn techniques to deal with injustice and ideas for creating positive change. Stereotypes, racism and prejudice are defined and discussed in an age-appropriate manner. Suitable for Grades 3-6.
To date, T4H has visited over 700 schools across Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, reaching over 150,000 students.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (FSWC) educational workshops operate out of the Tom & Anna Koffler Tolerance Training Centre located in the organization’s Toronto office. The Center is a state-of-the-art classroom equipped with interactive multimedia, including Turning Technologies voting tools, to help facilitate student participation. On average, over 10,000 Ontario students visit the Center on an annual basis to take part in FSWC’s workshops, free of charge. FSWC staff are also available to bring these workshops to individual schools, typically to address groups larger than 50 students, for a fee.
· Lessons & Legacy of the Holocaust
“The Holocaust is not just a Jewish story, but a human story.” Explore the history of the Holocaust and the attitudes and social forces that enabled one of the darkest periods of human history to occur. Students also have the opportunity to meet a Holocaust survivor, listen to his/her testimony, ask questions & gain a better understanding of the impact of the Holocaust at a personal level. Suitable for Grades 7 - 12; 3 hours
· Roots of Hate & Intolerance
Canada, often described as a diverse cultural mosaic, is not free from hatred and intolerance. Racism, antisemitism and prejudice are examined, as well as how these issues impact students and their communities. Real historical and contemporary examples of hate are used as a means of creating awareness and promoting dialogue and positive action within the school and community. Suitable for Grades 7-12; 2 hours
· Leadership 101 – Training for Student Leaders
“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” This interactive, hands-on workshop challenges existing perspectives on leadership and encourages students to explore their own diversity story. Students are introduced to tools they can use to promote respect and lead their school in affecting real, inclusive change. Suitable for Grades 7 – 12; 3 hours
· Genocide & the Power of Action
Genocide is defined and investigated through Gregory Stanton’s 10 Stages theoretical framework. Three case studies are applied to allow students to build an understanding of where theory intersects with reality. Students also have the opportunity to listen to testimony from, & interact with, a survivor. Suitable for Grades 7–12; 3 hours
· Simon’s Story: Heroes Among Us
What does it mean to be a hero? Characteristics such as integrity, courage and responsibility are investigated through real people who walked the talk. This course encourages an introspective look at personally defining characteristics of a hero and ways in which each of us has the power to effect positive change in our lives. Suitable for Grades 4–6; 2 hours
· Digital Hate – How Connected Are You?
The internet can function as a forum for progress and social change, but also as a vehicle to spread hate and intolerance. Issues such as cyberbullying, digital hate and the real life consequences of these increasingly dangerous and growing trends are investigated. Suitable for Grades 4 – 12; 2 hours
· Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
Despite significant developments over the course of the past century, gender inequities continue to persist. Consequences of this imbalance have an impact on all of humanity. Exploration of these issues, both at home and abroad, are explored. Students will leave informed, empowered & equipped with tools to effect real and positive change. Suitable for Grades 5 – 12; 2 hours
· Media Literacy, Propaganda & the Second World War
Throughout the Holocaust and World War II, powerful forms of propaganda were used to persuade and coerce populations. A look through different imagery, media and styles of propaganda are used to discuss bias and misinformation both in the past as well as in deciphering messages in today’s media. Suitable for Grades 7 – 12; 2 hours
In 2015, FSWC started a new initiative to have every school board in Ontario recognize International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27th.
*Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board
*District School Board of Niagara
*Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
*Durham Catholic District School Board
*Durham District School Board
*Grand Erie District School Board
*Halton Catholic District School Board
*Halton District School Board
*Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board
*Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
*Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board
*Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
*Lakehead District School Board
*Lambton-Kent District School Board
*Limestone District School Board
*Niagara Catholic District School Board
*Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board
*Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
*Peel District School Board
*Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland & Clarington Catholic District School Board
*Rainy River District School Board
*Simcoe County District School Board
*Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
*Thames Valley District School Board
*Toronto Catholic District School Board
*Toronto District School Board
*Trillium Lakelands District School Board
*Upper Canada District School Board
*Upper Grand District School Board
*Waterloo Catholic District School Board
*Waterloo District School Board
*Wellington Catholic District School Board
*Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board
*York Catholic District School Board
*York Region District School Board
*Regina Catholic School Division
In 2017, school boards received a Teacher Resource Guide that could be implemented in their schools to commemorate the day, along with information on how to use survivor testimony from www.neverforgetme.ca.
LESSONS IN HUMANITY
Police officers from across Ontario have attended FSWC’s law enforcement training programs to improve their ability to do their jobs effectively and efficiently in increasingly complex and diverse environments. FSWC’s targeted programming works to break down the increasingly complex and globalized world in which we live. Workshops and speaker series aim to develop essential links between current events and the daily work of law enforcement officials on the ground in Canada. The role of law enforcement in conflict, specifically the Holocaust, from a historical perspective is examined, followed by an analysis and discussion of prevailing modern-day issues such as antisemitism, the Middle East conflict, terror and Jewish targets, hate crimes and laws, campus and BDS/hate advocacy.
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It's a wrap! Our 8th annual Speakers Idol program was a great success! Held on Thursday, March 28th 2019 at Toronto Centre for the Arts, this annual speech competition featured students from Grades 6 – 12 from across Ontario, all commenting on the Simon Wiesenthal quote, "I believe in the good in people," while reflecting on how to create positive change in the world.
Thank you to all of the students who made this program so memorable this year! Thank you also, to the teachers, principals, parents and FSWC members for their tremendous support in bringing this program to life!
HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST: EDUCATOR CERTIFICATE COURSE
This intensive program teaches innovative and proven techniques to educate students about the Holocaust. It also provides a forum for teachers to share their personal experiences teaching this sensitive subject matter in their classrooms.
TEACHING GENOCIDE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM FOR EDUCATORS
This intensive program looks at a variety of genocides from the 21st century and ways to integrate effective, meaningful lessons into the classroom setting. Using a variety of proven teaching tools and techniques, teachers will leave the program prepared to tackle this difficult history with their students.
Each year, FSWC invites 20-30 influential Canadians on a remarkable educational journey to learn about the Holocaust, racism and intolerance. Our objective is to educate leaders about the past and to inspire and empower them to make the world a better place. Over 300 police chiefs, educators, mayors, provincial and federal parliamentarians, philanthropists and thought leaders have taken this intensive journey with us. In previous years we visited the ancient Jewish town of Krakow; saw the hallowed grounds of Auschwitz; witnessed original documents for the final solution in Berlin; visited Nazi sites in Nuremberg and learned about the trials of Nazi war criminals; walked the path of the ancients in Jerusalem and saw modern Israel in Tel Aviv – in all its glory – by the sea.
Past participants of Compassion to Action come from communities across Canada. They include Mark Saunders, Toronto Police Chief; Curtis Zablocki, Deputy Commissioner Alberta RCMP; Steve Clarke, Mayor of Orillia; Chief (ret’d) Bill Blair; Michael Bator, Executive Director Catholic Curriculum Corp.; Lisa Millar, Director of Education Durham District School Board; Hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor of Vaughan; Marina Nemat, Author