COMMUNITY SERVICE

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'Big Society' Doesn't Wait For Government To Make Positive Change

I always liked David Cameron. Maybe it was because we're both fans of the rock band, The Smiths, but also (and more importantly) because he tried to use the privileged position of prime minister to appeal to the better angels in our nature with the "Big Society" initiative of his early government. The Big Society ideal was first referenced by Cameron in 2009. In a nutshell, the Big Society philosophy recognizes that a country and its communities are built as much by passionate volunteers, community groups and service organizations as it is by departments of the government.
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The Night I Chose To Be Homeless

Each year, 360⁰kids -- an organization that provides a range of services to York Region's homeless youth -- encourages local community members to experience homelessness, just for one night a year. Last March, our group made it through some bone-chilling temperatures. I will do it again this year. For more than 300 youth in a region that's home to large detached homes and flourishing businesses, they've lost count of how many nights they've been homeless. It's an issue that doesn't get enough attention.
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What We Would Change About Education in Canada

This is what we would change about Canada: Compulsory volunteer hours as part of a holistic service learning model -- in every classroom in the country. Formal instruction should help students learn the root causes of whatever social deficit their volunteer hours help fill. Every school should be granted funding and the resources needed to adapt their own service-learning model.

A Film Festival First for Montreal

This spring, one brand new film festival is using Montreal's cultural benefits to highlight issues of accessibility and inclusion. Regarding Disability: A Film Festival will make its debut in Montreal on March 21 and will run in various locations until the 28.
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How We Treat Refugees Says A Lot About Who We Are

Uprooted from their lives, sometimes in a violent manner, many refugees find themselves in alien lands with little or no knowledge of the local language or culture and (generally) without friends or family to help a lending hand. Most western governments refer to refugees as "clients" or "customers" when processing their applications. There's little or no recognition of the person behind the paperwork. That's where Canada's Romero House comes in.

When Community Service Is Merely Self-Serving

Why are student volunteers in Africa being tasked to do physically exhausting and challenging labour when there really wasn't a purpose to it -- except as some kind of "hardship lesson" for "spoiled youth?" I also began to wonder if we weren't taking work away from locals.

Volunteers Everywhere!

In your community, as many others, everywhere you turn there are volunteers. Whether it be at the community association or town, in one of the many schools and sports organizations, there are armies...