Today, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) Educator Elena returned to a public school in Hamilton for our third day of workshops this month. Elena presented 3 separate workshops on Women's Rights to all of the Grades 5 and 6 students along with just the girls from Grades 7 and 8. The school decided to have just girls for this group because they wanted to make sure that the girls were able to express themselves freely. This was probably the best workshop of the day but all three were very well-received - Elena was particularly pleased with how many thoughtful questions and comments came from male students in the younger grades as well. Elena spent a lot of time on gender stereotypes and how they negatively effect both girls and boys, using the example of Pink Shirt Day and the fact that boys are often picked on for liking "girly things." The 2nd workshop was the group of Grades 7 and 8 girls. This was a fun group and Elena definitely felt that the absence of boys made the whole group more willing to be open. The best discussion from the day came when Elena asked the girls to give her examples of women in their own lives who don't conform to stereotypes. One young woman said her older sister who became a single mom at the age of 19 but now owns her own home and business at the age of 23. Another student said her own mom who "came from a poor country in Africa" but now works as manager and also fights for racial equality. A third student said her cousin who works as a doctor. The student hopes to follow in her footsteps!
Tour for Humanity finished off its first Windsor week at a Catholic school in Windsor. There were 6 workshops on the bus that day, 3 Canadian Experience workshops for Grades 7 and 8 students and 3 Simon’s Story workshops for Grades 4-6 students. The Grades 7 and 8 classes had never heard of Residential Schools and had limited knowledge of the Holocaust but FSWC Educator Daniella found they were eager to learn and asked a lot of questions. The Grades 4 to 6 classes participating in Simon’s Story also asked a lot of questions, yet some students had quite a deep knowledge of the Holocaust. Daniella focused a lot on the treatment of prisoners in the camp (age appropriately of course) and discussed the different jobs that prisoners were given. Daniella also spent some time discussing how the Nazis arrested Jewish people - the students had difficulty understanding how someone could be treated so badly when “they were regular people just like us.” Tour for Humanity was also joined by MP Brian Masse, who sat in on one of the Grade 7 workshops and spoke to the students for a few minutes. He was very appreciative of the invitation from FSWC and praised our programs. It was a great end to a good week on the road.